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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1979 Oct 19;557(1):122-34.

Integral membrane protein interaction with Triton cytoskeletons of erythrocytes.


The organization of erythrocyte membrane lipids and proteins has been studied following the release of cytoplasmic components with the non-ionic detergent Triton X-100. After detergent extraction, a detergent-resistant complex called the erythrocyte cytoskeleton is separated from detergent, solubilized lipid and protein by sucrose buoyant density sedimentation. In cytoskeletons prepared under isotonic conditions all of the major erythrocyte membrane proteins are retained except for the integral protein, glycophorin, which is quantitatively solubilized and another integral glycoprotein, band 3, which is only 60% removed. When cytoskeletons are prepared in hypertonic KCl solutions, band 3 is fully solubilized along with bands 2.1 and 4.2 and several minor components. The resulting cytoskeletons have the same morphology as those prepared in isotonic buffer but they are composed of only three major peripheral proteins, spectrin, actin and band 4.1. We have designated this peripheral protein complex the 'shell' of the erythrocyte membrane, and have shown that the attachment of band 3 to the shell satisfies the criteria for a specific interaction. Although Triton did affect erythrocyte shape, cytoskeleton lipid content and the activity of membrane proteases, there was no indication that Triton altered the attachment of band 3 to the shell. We suggest that band 3 attaches to the shell as part of a ternary complex of bands 2.1, 3 and 4.2.

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