A human beta-spectrin gene promoter directs high level expression in erythroid but not muscle or neural cells.
beta-Spectrin is an erythrocyte membrane protein that is defective in many patients with abnormalities of red blood cell shape including hereditary spherocytosis and elliptocytosis. It is expressed not only in erythroid tissues but also in muscle and brain. We wished to determine the regulatory elements that determine the tissue-specific expression of the beta-spectrin gene. We mapped the 5'-end of the beta-spectrin erythroid cDNA and cloned the 5'-flanking genomic DNA containing the putative beta-spectrin gene promoter. Using transfection of promoter/reporter plasmids in human tissue culture cell lines, in vitro DNase I footprinting analyses, and gel mobility shift assays, a beta-spectrin gene erythroid promoter with two binding sites for GATA-1 and one site for CACCC-related proteins was identified. All three binding sites were required for full promoter activity; one of the GATA-1 motifs and the CACCC-binding motif were essential for activity. The beta-spectrin gene promoter was able to be transactivated in heterologous cells by forced expression of GATA-1. In transgenic mice, a reporter gene directed by the beta-spectrin promoter was expressed in erythroid tissues at all stages of development. Only weak expression of the reporter gene was detected in muscle and brain tissue, suggesting that additional regulatory elements are required for high level expression of the beta-spectrin gene in these tissues. (+info)
Calculation of a Gap restoration in the membrane skeleton of the red blood cell: possible role for myosin II in local repair.
Human red blood cells contain all of the elements involved in the formation of nonmuscle actomyosin II complexes (V. M. Fowler. 1986. J. Cell. Biochem. 31:1-9; 1996. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 8:86-96). No clear function has yet been attributed to these complexes. Using a mathematical model for the structure of the red blood cell spectrin skeleton (M. J. Saxton. 1992. J. Theor. Biol. 155:517-536), we have explored a possible role for myosin II bipolar minifilaments in the restoration of the membrane skeleton, which may be locally damaged by major mechanical or chemical stress. We propose that the establishment of stable links between distant antiparallel actin protofilaments after a local myosin II activation may initiate the repair of the disrupted area. We show that it is possible to define conditions in which the calculated number of myosin II minifilaments bound to actin protofilaments is consistent with the estimated number of myosin II minifilaments present in the red blood cells. A clear restoration effect can be observed when more than 50% of the spectrin polymers of a defined area are disrupted. It corresponds to a significant increase in the spectrin density in the protein free region of the membrane. This may be involved in a more complex repair process of the red blood cell membrane, which includes the vesiculation of the bilayer and the compaction of the disassembled spectrin network. (+info)
Electric birefringence of recombinant spectrin segments 14, 14-15, 14-16, and 14-17 from Drosophila alpha-spectrin.
Members of the spectrin protein family can be found in many different cells and organisms. In all cases studied, the major functional role of these proteins is believed to be structural rather than enzymatic. All spectrin proteins are highly elongated and consist mainly of homologous repeats that constitute rigid segments connected in tandem. It is commonly believed that the details of the spectrin function depend critically on the flexibility of the links between the segments. Here we report on a work addressing this question by studying the transient electric birefringence of recombinant spectrin fragments consisting of segments 14, 14-15, 14-16, and 14-17, respectively, from Drosophila alpha-spectrin. Transient electric birefringence depends sharply on both molecular length and flexibility. We found that the birefringence relaxation time of segment 14 measured at 4 degrees C, but scaled to what is expected at 20 degrees C, equals 16 ns (+/-15%) at pH 7.5 and ionic strength 6 mM. This is consistent with this single segment being rigid, 5 nm long and having an axial ratio equal to about two. Under the same conditions, segments 14-15, 14-16 and 14-17 show relaxation times of 45, 39 and 164 ns (all +/-20%), respectively, scaled to what is expected at 20 degrees C. When the temperature is increased to 37 degrees C the main relaxation time for each of these multisegment fragments, scaled to what is expected at 20 degrees C, increased to 46, 80, and 229 ns (all +/-20%), respectively. When the ionic strength and the Debye shielding is low, the dynamics of these short fragments even at physiological temperature is nearly the same as for fully extended weakly bending rods with the same lengths and axial ratios. When the ionic strength is increased to 85 mM, the main relaxation time for each of these multisegment fragments is reduced 20-50% which suggests that at physiological salt and temperature conditions the links in 2-4-segment-long fragments exhibit significant thermally induced flexing. Provided that the recombinant spectrin fragments can serve as a model for native spectrin, this implies that, at physiological conditions, the overall conformational dynamics of a native spectrin protein containing 20-40 segments equals that of a flexible polymer. (+info)
Extensive but coordinated reorganization of the membrane skeleton in myofibers of dystrophic (mdx) mice.
We used immunofluorescence techniques and confocal imaging to study the organization of the membrane skeleton of skeletal muscle fibers of mdx mice, which lack dystrophin. beta-Spectrin is normally found at the sarcolemma in costameres, a rectilinear array of longitudinal strands and elements overlying Z and M lines. However, in the skeletal muscle of mdx mice, beta-spectrin tends to be absent from the sarcolemma over M lines and the longitudinal strands may be disrupted or missing. Other proteins of the membrane and associated cytoskeleton, including syntrophin, beta-dystroglycan, vinculin, and Na,K-ATPase are also concentrated in costameres, in control myofibers, and mdx muscle. They also distribute into the same altered sarcolemmal arrays that contain beta-spectrin. Utrophin, which is expressed in mdx muscle, also codistributes with beta-spectrin at the mutant sarcolemma. By contrast, the distribution of structural and intracellular membrane proteins, including alpha-actinin, the Ca-ATPase and dihydropyridine receptors, is not affected, even at sites close to the sarcolemma. Our results suggest that in myofibers of the mdx mouse, the membrane- associated cytoskeleton, but not the nearby myoplasm, undergoes widespread coordinated changes in organization. These changes may contribute to the fragility of the sarcolemma of dystrophic muscle. (+info)
Effect of fever-like whole-body hyperthermia on lymphocyte spectrin distribution, protein kinase C activity, and uropod formation.
Regional inflammation and systemic fever are hallmarks of host immune responses to pathogenic stimuli. Although the thermal element of fever is thought to enhance the activity of immune effector cells, it is unclear what the precise role of increased body temperatures is on the activation state and effector functions of lymphocytes. We report here that mild, fever-like whole body hyperthermia (WBH) treatment of mice results in a distinct increase in the numbers of tissue lymphocytes with polarized spectrin cytoskeletons and uropods, as visualized in situ. WBH also induces a coincident reorganization of protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes and increased PKC activity within T cells. These hyperthermia-induced cellular alterations are nearly identical with the previously described effects of Ag- and mitogen-induced activation on lymphocyte spectrin and PKC. Immunoprecipitation studies combined with dual staining and protein overlay assays confirmed the association of PKC beta and PKC theta with spectrin following its reorganization. The receptor for activated C kinase-1 was also found to associate with the spectrin-based cytoskeleton. Furthermore, all these molecules (spectrin, PKC beta, PKC theta, and receptor for activated C kinase-1) cotranslocate to the uropod. Enhanced intracellular spectrin phosphorylation upon WBH treatment of lymphocytes was also found and could be blocked by the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide I (GF109203X). These data suggest that the thermal element of fever, as mimicked by these studies, can modulate critical steps in the signal transduction pathways necessary for effective lymphocyte activation and function. Further work is needed to determine the cellular target(s) that transduces the signaling pathway(s) induced by hyperthermia. (+info)
Interaction of the DNA-binding antitumor antibiotics, chromomycin and mithramycin with erythroid spectrin.
The aureolic acid group of antitumor antibiotics, chromomycin A3 and mithramycin, are well established as transcription inhibitors, which bind reversibly to DNA at and above physiological pH, in the presence of divalent metal ions such as Mg2+. As part of our broad objective to elucidate their intracellular mode of action, other than association with DNA, we studied their interactions with the erythrocyte cytoskeletal protein, spectrin, in the absence and presence of magnesium. Different spectroscopic studies, such as absorbance, fluorescence and CD, have shown that both free chromomycin and mithramycin and their Mg2+ complexes bind to spectrin with an affinity higher than that reported for DNA. The affinity constants for the association of chromomycin and mithramycin (or their Mg2+ complexes) with spectrin are comparable with those for the association of spectrin with other cytoskeletal proteins, for example F-actin, ankyrin, protein 4.1, etc. The nature of the binding of the two antibiotics to spectrin is different. The mode of binding of the antibiotics with spectrin also changes in the presence of Mg2+. The interaction leads to a change in the tertiary structure of the protein. The relevance of the results to our understanding of the mode of action of the antibiotics is discussed. (+info)
Alteration of alpha-spectrin ubiquitination due to age-dependent changes in the erythrocyte membrane.
Mammalian red blood cell alpha-spectrin is ubiquitinated in vitro and in vivo [Corsi, D., Galluzzi, L., Crinelli, R., Magnani, M. (1995) J. Biol. Chem. 270, 8928-8935]. This process shows a cell age-dependent decrease, with senescent red blood cells having approximately one third of the amount of ubiquitinated alpha-spectrin found in young cells. In-vitro ubiquitination of alpha-spectrin was dependent on the source of the red cell membranes (those from older cells are less susceptible to ubiquitination than those from younger cells), on the source of ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (those from older cells catalyze the process at a reduced rate compared to those from younger cells) and on the ubiquitin isopeptidase activity (which decreases during red cell ageing). However, once alpha-spectrin has been extracted from the membranes of young or old red blood cells, it is susceptible to ubiquitination to a similar extent regardless of source. This suggests that it is the membrane architecture, and not spectrin itself, that is responsible for the age-dependent decline in ubiquitination. Furthermore, spectrin oligomers, tetramers and dimers are also equally susceptible to ubiquitination. As spectrin ubiquitination occurs on domains alphaIII and alphaV of alpha-spectrin, and domain alphaV contains the nucleation site for the association of the alpha- and beta-spectrin chains, alterations in ubiquitination during red cell ageing could affect the stability and deformability of the erythrocyte membrane. (+info)
Mild spherocytosis and altered red cell ion transport in protein 4. 2-null mice.
Protein 4.2 is a major component of the red blood cell (RBC) membrane skeleton. We used targeted mutagenesis in embryonic stem (ES) cells to elucidate protein 4.2 functions in vivo. Protein 4. 2-null (4.2(-/-)) mice have mild hereditary spherocytosis (HS). Scanning electron microscopy and ektacytometry confirm loss of membrane surface in 4.2(-/-) RBCs. The membrane skeleton architecture is intact, and the spectrin and ankyrin content of 4. 2(-/-) RBCs are normal. Band 3 and band 3-mediated anion transport are decreased. Protein 4.2(-/-) RBCs show altered cation content (increased K+/decreased Na+)resulting in dehydration. The passive Na+ permeability and the activities of the Na-K-2Cl and K-Cl cotransporters, the Na/H exchanger, and the Gardos channel in 4. 2(-/-) RBCs are significantly increased. Protein 4.2(-/-) RBCs demonstrate an abnormal regulation of cation transport by cell volume. Cell shrinkage induces a greater activation of Na/H exchange and Na-K-2Cl cotransport in 4.2(-/-) RBCs compared with controls. The increased passive Na+ permeability of 4.2(-/-) RBCs is also dependent on cell shrinkage. We conclude that protein 4.2 is important in the maintenance of normal surface area in RBCs and for normal RBC cation transport. (+info)