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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2004;25(2):119-26.

Not just a plasma membrane protein: in cardiac muscle cells alpha-II spectrin also shows a close association with myofibrils.

Author information

  • 1The Randall Centre for Molecular Mechanisms of Cell Function, New Hunt's House, King's College London, Guy's Campus, London SE1 1UL, UK.

Erratum in

  • J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2005;26(2-3):173-4.


Spectrin and its associated proteins are essential for the integrity of muscle cells and there is increasing evidence for their involvement in signalling pathways as well as having a structural function in mediating stress. Spectrin is a multigene family and it is essential to determine which isoforms are present and their location in the cell. In heart muscle, we have found that one spectrin isoform, alphaII-spectrin, is strongly represented and, using immunofluorescence, we show that it lies within the contractile fibres near the Z-disc as well as on the cardiomyocyte plasma membrane. Electron microscopy of immunogold-labelled cryosections reveals statistically significant clustering of gold particles near the Z-disc, within and close to the edge of myofibrils. betaII-spectrin and ankyrin-R and G are both known to occupy this region. We suggest that alphaIIbetaII spectrin tetramers with ankyrin organise and/or stabilise cardiac muscle cell membrane components relative to the contractile apparatus.

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