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Trends Cell Biol. 1993 Apr;3(4):113-7.

The membrane skeleton.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 660 W. Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


One important element that defines cell shape is the membrane skeleton. This filamentous network is closely apposed to the cytoplasmic face of the plasma membrane where it gives mechanical support to the membrane, provides specific attachment sites for cytoskeletal components and helps to organize some integral membrane proteins into domains. The membrane skeleton of erythrocytes has been studied extensively by biochemical and ultrastructural methods, but similar structures in other cell types are just beginning to be defined. In this review, David Pumplin and Robert Bloch draw attention to these nonerythroid skeletons and compare and contrast them with the erythrocyte model.


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