Limited proteolysis of the erythrocyte membrane skeleton by calcium-dependent proteinases

Dorothy E. Croall, Jon S. Morrow, George N. DeMartino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The action of purified calcium-dependent proteinase on human erythrocyte membrane skeleton proteins has been examined. Preferential cleavage of proteins 4.1 a and b and band 3 and limited cleavage of α- and β-spectrin occur when either calcium-dependent proteinase I or calcium-dependent proteinase II has access to the cytoplasmic side of the ghost membrane skeleton in the presence of calcium. Thus, when these proteinases are incubated with sealed ghosts they do not cleave these proteins. Leupeptin, mersalyl, the specific cellular protein inhibitor of these enzymes, and calcium chelators can inhibit proteolysis of the red cell ghost proteins by Ca2+-dependent proteinases. Each proteinase has also been loaded into erythrocyte ghosts in the absence of calcium at low ionic strength and subsequently trapped inside by resealing the ghosts. The proteinases were activated by incubating these ghosts in the presence of the calcium ionophore A23187 and calcium. Examination of the ghost proteins by electrophoresis demonstrated calcium-dependent proteolysis of Bands 4.1 and 3 and limited cleavage of α- and β-spectrin similar to that observed on proteolysis of the open, leaky ghosts. In the presence of calcium each calcium-dependent proteinase appears to associate with the erythrocyte ghost membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-296
Number of pages10
JournalBBA - General Subjects
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 16 1986


  • (Erythrocyte membrane skeleton)
  • Ca dependence
  • Proteinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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