September 9, 2010

The protein spectrin is found at the cell’s plasma membrane and serves to provide shape and stability to a cell. In addition to serving as part of a cell’s scaffolding network, spectrin has also been assigned functions in cell polarity and membrane traffic. A recent paper has looked at the requirement for spectrin, and its adaptor protein ankyrin, in neurons and other cells in the fruit fly Drosophila. Image above shows two salivary glands with normal (left) or increased (right) levels of spectrin. Too much spectrin in this tissue leads to changes in cell shape and polarity.

Reference: G. Harper Mazock, Amlan Das, Christine Base, and Ronald R. Dubreuil. Authors’ Molecular Biology of the Cell paper can be found here.

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