In nonerythroid cells the distribution of the cortical membrane skeleton composed of fodrin (spectrin), actin, and other proteins varies both temporally with cell development and spatially within the cell and on the membrane. In monolayers of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells, it has previously been shown that fodrin and Na,K-ATPase are codistributed asymmetrically at the basolateral margins of the cell, and that the distribution of fodrin appears to be regulated posttranslationally when confluence is achieved (Nelson, W. J., and P. I. Veshnock. 1987. J. Cell Biol. 104:1527-1537). The molecular mechanisms underlying these changes are poorly understood. We find that (a) in confluent MDCK cells and intact kidney proximal tubule cells, Na,K-ATPase, fodrin, and analogues of human erythrocyte ankyrin are precisely colocalized in the basolateral domain at the ultrastructural level. (b) This colocalization is only achieved in MDCK cells after confluence is attained. (c) Erythrocyte ankyrin binds saturably to Na,K-ATPase in a molar ratio of approximately 1 ankyrin to 4 Na,K-ATPase's, with a kD of 2.6 microM. (d) The binding of ankyrin to Na,K-ATPase is inhibited by the 43-kD cytoplasmic domain of erythrocyte band 3. (e) 125I-labeled ankyrin binds to the alpha subunit of Na,K-ATPase in vitro. There also appears to be a second minor membrane protein of approximately 240 kD that is associated with both erythrocyte and kidney membranes that binds 125I-labeled ankyrin avidly. The precise identity of this component is unknown. These results identify a molecular mechanism in the renal epithelial cell that may account for the polarized distribution of the fodrin-based cortical cytoskeleton.

This content is only available as a PDF.