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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Spectrin and phospholipids — the current picture of their fascinating interplay

  • Dżamila M. Bogusławska1,
  • Beata Machnicka1,
  • Anita Hryniewicz-Jankowska2 and
  • Aleksander Czogalla2, 3, 4Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201419:185

Received: 31 July 2013

Accepted: 19 February 2014

Published: 25 February 2014


The spectrin-based membrane skeleton is crucial for the mechanical stability and resilience of erythrocytes. It mainly contributes to membrane integrity, protein organization and trafficking. Two transmembrane protein macro-complexes that are linked together by spectrin tetramers play a crucial role in attaching the membrane skeleton to the cell membrane, but they are not exclusive. Considerable experimental data have shown that direct interactions between spectrin and membrane lipids are important for cell membrane cohesion. Spectrin is a multidomain, multifunctional protein with several distinctive structural regions, including lipid-binding sites within CH tandem domains, a PH domain, and triple helical segments, which are excellent examples of ligand specificity hidden in a regular repetitive structure, as recently shown for the ankyrin-sensitive lipid-binding domain of beta spectrin. In this review, we summarize the state of knowledge about interactions between spectrin and membrane lipids.


Spectrin-phospholipid interactionsSpectrin repeatsSpectrin tetramersAnkyrinErythrocytesActin-binding domainPleckstrin homology domainDystrophinLipid bilayerMembrane skeleton