Molecular basis and haplotyping of the alphaII domain polymorphisms of spectrin: application to the study of hereditary elliptocytosis and pyropoikilocytosis

Am J Hum Genet. 1996 Aug;59(2):351-9.


Hereditary elliptocytosis (HE) and hereditary pyropoikilocytosis (HPP) are inherited disorders of erythrocyte shape that are frequently associated with abnormalities in alpha-spectrin, one of the principal structural proteins of the erythrocyte membrane skeleton. Five polymorphisms of the alpha-spectrin gene, located in a 6-kb interval of genomic DNA, were identified and analyzed in normal and mutant alpha-spectrin alleles. Three of these polymorphisms are due to single nucleotide substitutions in the alpha-spectrin gene coding region that lead to changes in the amino acid sequence. In combination, these three polymorphisms are responsible for the different peptide phenotypes of the alphaII domain previously observed following limited tryptic digestion of spectrin protein. The most common haplotype, type 1, was found predominantly in Caucasians and was the only haplotype identified in Asians. Haplotypes 2, 3, and 4 were identified predominantly in individuals of African ancestry and were commonly found in patients with HE or HPP. Analysis of coinheritance of alphaII domain polymorphisms with alpha-spectrin gene mutations causing HE or HPP in African-American patients with HE and HPP suggests that, with one exception, a given HE/HPP mutation is present in an alpha-spectrin gene of only one haplotype, indicating a founder effect. The other two polymorphisms located in this region of the alpha-spectrin gene do not change the amino acid sequence of the encoded alpha-spectrin chain and are not in linkage disequilibrium with three of the four alphaII domain haplotypes. A model is proposed for the evolutionary origin of the different haplotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Congenital / genetics*
  • Asian
  • Asian People
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Black People
  • Elliptocytosis, Hereditary / genetics*
  • Erythrocytes, Abnormal
  • Haplotypes
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Prevalence
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Spectrin / genetics*
  • United States
  • White People


  • Spectrin