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    The short F-actins in the red blood cell (RBC) membrane skeleton are coated along their lengths by an equimolar combination of two tropomyosin isoforms, Tpm1.9 and Tpm3.1. We hypothesized that tropomyosin's ability to stabilize F-actin regulates RBC morphology and mechanical properties. To test this, we examined mice with a targeted deletion in alternatively spliced exon 9d of Tpm3 (Tpm3/9d-/- ), which leads to absence of Tpm3.1 in RBCs along with a compensatory increase in Tpm1.9 of sufficient magnitude to maintain normal total tropomyosin content. The isoform switch from Tpm1.9/Tpm3.1 to exclusively Tpm1.9 does not affect membrane skeleton composition but causes RBC F-actins to become hyperstable, based on decreased vulnerability to latrunculin-A-induced depolymerization. Unexpectedly, this isoform switch also leads to decreased association of Band 3 and glycophorin A with the membrane skeleton, suggesting that tropomyosin isoforms regulate the strength of F-actin-to-membrane linkages. Tpm3/9d-/- mice display a mild compensated anemia, in which RBCs have spherocytic morphology with increased osmotic fragility, reduced membrane deformability, and increased membrane stability. We conclude that RBC tropomyosin isoforms directly influence RBC physiology by regulating 1) the stability of the short F-actins in the membrane skeleton and 2) the strength of linkages between the membrane skeleton and transmembrane glycoproteins. © 2017 Sui et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (


    Zhenhua Sui, David S Gokhin, Roberta B Nowak, Xinhua Guo, Xiuli An, Velia M Fowler. Stabilization of F-actin by tropomyosin isoforms regulates the morphology and mechanical behavior of red blood cells. Molecular biology of the cell. 2017 Sep 15;28(19):2531-2542

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    PMID: 28720661

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