The membrane skeleton is composed of spectrin, actin and a host of accessory proteins. Actin filaments are crosslinked by spectrins, which are 200 nm long tetrameric proteins with actin binding sites at each end. The spectrin-actin lattice associates with membranes through accessory proteins which function as adaptors that bind to both spectrin and to the cytoplasmic domains of membrane proteins. The most important of these adaptor proteins is the ankyrin family. We have determined crystal structures for the membrane protein binding domain of ankyrins and the ankyrin-binding domain of spectrin. The goal of current projects is to structurally characterize interactions between membrane proteins, ankyrins and
spectrins.

Ankyrin Structure Movie:

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Spectrin Structure Movie: