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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

Brain proteins interacting with the tetramerization region of non-erythroid alpha spectrin

Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal200712:28

  • Received: 16 April 2007
  • Accepted: 11 June 2007
  • Published:


The N-terminal region of non-erythroid alpha spectrin (SpαII) is responsible for interacting with its binding partner, beta spectrin, to form functional spectrin tetramers. We used a yeast-two-hybrid system, with an N-terminal segment of alpha spectrin representing the functional tetramerization site, as a bait to screen human brain c-DNA library for proteins that interact with the alpha spectrin segment. In addition to several beta spectrin isoforms, we identified 14 proteins that interact with SpαII. Seven of the 14 were matched to 6 known proteins: Duo protein, Lysyl-tRNA synthetase, TBP associated factor 1, two isoforms (b and c) of a protein kinase A interacting protein and Zinc finger protein 333 (2 different segments). Four of the 6 proteins are located primarily in the nucleus, suggesting that spectrin plays important roles in nuclear functions. The remaining 7 proteins were unknown to the protein data base. Structural predictions show that many of the 14 proteins consist of a large portion of unstructured regions, suggesting that many of these proteins fold into a rather flexible conformation. It is interesting to note that all but 3 of the 14 proteins are predicted to consist of one to four coiled coils (amphiphilic helices). A mutation in SpαII, V22D, which interferes with the coiled coil bundling of SpαII with beta spectrin, also affects SpαII interaction with Duo protein, TBP associated factor 1 and Lysyl-tRNA synthetase, suggesting that they may compete with beta spectrin for interaction with SpαII. Future structural and functional studies of these proteins to provide interaction mechanisms will no doubt lead to a better understanding of brain physiology and pathophysiology.

Key words

  • Spectrin
  • Tetramerization site
  • Protein-protein interaction
  • Yeast-two hybrid system
  • Brain protein
  • Spectrin mutation