Expression of human membrane skeleton protein genes for protein 4.1 and βIIσ2-spectrin assayed by real-time RT-PCR

Pamela M. Taylor-Harris, Leanne E. Felkin, Emma J. Birks, Rodney C.G. Franklin, Magdi H. Yacoub, Anthony J. Baines, Paul J.R. Barton, Jennifer C. Pinder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The proteins, spectrin and 4.1 confer support and resilience to animal cell membranes, and promote assembly of multimeric, membrane-bound signalling complexes. Protein 4.1 also plays important roles in tumour suppression and the regulation of cell proliferation. To assess relative tissue expression of the four genes encoding human protein 4.1, we measured mRNA levels using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. We compared 4.1 expression with that of a major splice variant of spectrin, βIIΣ2 that has a shortened C-terminus lacking a pleckstrin homology domain. mRNA for 4.1R is four-fold higher in bone marrow than in tissues with the next highest prevalence: cerebellum, lung, testis and thymus. 4.1G mRNA is highly expressed in brain, spinal cord and testis; 4.1N in brain, spinal cord and adrenal gland; 4.1B in testis, brain, spinal cord, and kidney. Thus, 4.1N, 4.1B and 4.1G all show high accumulation in nervous tissues. mRNA for βIIΣ2-spectrin is ubiquitous, but most abundant in cardiac and nervous tissues. Comparative transcript abundance was analysed in heart and brain. βIIΣ2-spectrin was the most abundant transcript in heart with levels 5 fold greater than 4.1G or 4.1N and at least 9 fold greater than 4.1B. In brain, 4.1N was the most abundant transcript, with levels 2.4 fold greater than 4.1B and at least 4 fold greater than 4.1G or βIIΣ2-spectrin. 4.1R abundance was very low in both tissues. Whilst we expected that 4.1 mRNAs would feature highly in muscle and nerve, we note their high abundance in testis, indicating previously unsuspected functions in reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-149
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Membrane Skeleton
  • Protein 4.1
  • Real-time RT-PCR
  • Spectrin
  • βIIΣ2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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