Avian lens spectrin: subunit composition compared with erythrocyte and brain spectrin
Chicken lens spectrin is composed predominantly of equimolar amounts of two polypeptides with solubility properties similar, but not identical, to erythrocyte spectrin. The larger polypeptide, Mr 240,000 (lens alpha- spectrin), co-migrates with erythrocyte and brain alpha-spectrin on one- and two-dimensional SDS polyacrylamide gels and cross-reacts with antibodies specific for chicken erythrocyte alpha-spectrin; the smaller polypeptide, Mr 235,000 (lens gamma-spectrin), co-migrates with brain gamma-spectrin and does not cross-react with either the alpha-spectrin antibodies specific for chicken erythrocyte beta-spectrin. Minor amounts of polypeptides antigenically related to erythrocyte beta- spectrin with a greater electrophoretic mobility than lens gamma- spectrin are also detected in lens. The equimolar ratio of lens alpha- and gamma-spectrin is invariantly maintained during the extraction of lens plasma membranes under different conditions, or after immunoprecipitation of whole extracts of lens with erythrocyte alpha- spectrin antibodies. Two-dimensional peptide mapping reveals that whereas alpha-spectrins from chicken erythrocytes, brain, and lens are highly homologous, the gamma-spectrins, although related, have some cell-type-specific peptides and are substantially different from erythrocyte beta-spectrin. Thus, the expression of cell-type-specific gamma- and beta-spectrins may be the basis for the assembly of a spectrin-plasma membrane complex whose molecular composition is tailored to the functional requirements of the particular cell-type.