Primary structure of the brain alpha-spectrin

Veli-Matti Wasenius, Matti Saraste, Petri Salven, Marja Erämaa, Liisa Holm, Veli-Pekka Lehto

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159 Citations (Scopus)


We have determined the nucleotide sequence coding for the chicken brain alpha-spectrin. It is derived both from the cDNA and genomic sequences, comprises the entire coding frame, 5' and 3' untranslated sequences, and terminates in the poly(A)-tail. The deduced amino acid sequence was used to map the domain structure of the protein. The alpha-chain of brain spectrin contains 22 segments of which 20 correspond to the repeat of the human erythrocyte spectrin (Speicher, D. W., and V. T. Marchesi. 1984. Nature (Lond.). 311:177-180.), typically made of 106 residues. These homologous segments probably account for the flexible, rod-like structure of spectrin. Secondary structure prediction suggests predominantly alpha-helical structure for the entire chain. Parts of the primary structure are excluded from the repetitive pattern and they reside in the middle part of the sequence and in its COOH terminus.
Search for homology in other proteins showed the presence of the following distinct structures in these nonrepetitive regions: (a) the COOH-terminal part of the molecule that shows homology with alpha-actinin, (b) two typical EF-hand (i.e., Ca2+-binding) structures in this region, (c) a sequence close to the EF-hand that fulfills the criteria for a calmodulin-binding site, and (d) a domain in the middle of the sequence that is homologous to a NH2-terminal segment of several src-tyrosine kinases and to a domain of phospholipase C. These regions are good candidates to carry some established as well as some yet unestablished functions of spectrin. Comparative analysis showed that alpha-spectrin is well conserved across the species boundaries from Xenopus to man, and that the human erythrocyte alpha-spectrin is divergent from the other spectrins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-93
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1989
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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