The 24 ANK repeats of the membrane-binding domain of ankyrin form four folded subdomains of six ANK repeats each. These four repeat subdomains mediate interactions with at least seven different families of membrane proteins. In the erythrocyte, the main membrane target of ankyrin is the Cl- /HCO3/- anion exchanger. This report presents the first evidence that ankyrin contains two separate binding sites for anion exchanger dimers. One site utilizes repeat subdomain two (repeats 7-12) while the other requires both repeat subdomains three and four (repeats 13-24). The two sites are positively coupled with a Hill coefficient of 1.4. Since the anion exchanger exists as a dimer in the membrane, the presence of two binding sites on ankyrin allows ankyrin to interact with four anion exchangers simultaneously. These findings provide a direct demonstration of the versatility of ANK repeats in protein recognition, and have important implications for the organization of ankyrin-linked integral membrane proteins in erythrocytes as well as other cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas