Analysis of the expression and assembly of the anion transporter by metabolic pulse-chase and steady-state protein and RNA measurements reveals that the extent of association of band 3 with the membrane cytoskeleton varies during chicken embryonic development. Pulse-chase studies have indicated that band 3 polypeptides do not associate with the membrane cytoskeleton until they have been transported to the plasma membrane. At this time, band 3 polypeptides are slowly recruited, over a period of hours, onto a preassembled membrane cytoskeletal network and the extent of this cytoskeletal assembly is developmentally regulated. Only 3% of the band 3 polypeptides are cytoskeletal-associated in 4-d erythroid cells vs. 93% in 10-d erythroid cells and 36% in 15-d erythroid cells. This observed variation appears to be regulated primarily at the level of recruitment onto the membrane cytoskeleton rather than by different transport kinetics to the membrane or differential turnover of the soluble and insoluble polypeptides and is not dependent upon the lineage or stage of differentiation of the erythroid cells. Steady-state protein and RNA analyses indicate that the low levels of cytoskeletal band 3 very early in development most likely result from limiting amounts of ankyrin and protein 4.1, the membrane cytoskeletal binding sites for band 3. As embryonic development proceeds, ankyrin and protein 4.1 levels increase with a concurrent rise in the level of cytoskeletal band 3 until, on day 10 of development, virtually all of the band 3 polypeptides are cytoskeletal bound. After day 10, the levels of total and cytoskeletal band 3 decline, whereas ankyrin and protein 4.1 continue to accumulate until day 18, indicating that the cytoskeletal association of band 3 is not regulated solely by the availability of membrane cytoskeletal binding sites at later stages of development. Thus, multiple mechanisms appear to regulate the recruitment of band 3 onto the erythroid membrane cytoskeleton during chicken embryonic development.

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