Evidence accumulated over the years suggests that human erythrocyte membrane protein 4.2 is one of the proteins involved in strengthening the cytoskeleton-membrane interactions in the red blood cell. Deficiency of protein 4.2 is linked with a variety of hereditary haemolytic anaemia. However, the interactions of protein 4.2 with other proteins of the erythrocyte membrane remain poorly understood. The major membrane-binding site for protein 4.2 resides on the cytoplasmic domain of band 3 (CDB3). In order to carry out an initial characterization of its interaction with the CDB3, protein 4.2 was subjected to proteolytic cleavage and gel renaturation assay, and the 23-kDa N-terminal domain was found to interact with band 3. This domain contained two putative palmitoylatable cysteine residues, of which cysteine 203 was identified as the palmitoylatable cysteine. Recombinant glutathione S-transferase-fusion peptides derived from this domain were characterized with respect to their ability to interact with the CDB3. Whereas these studies do not rule out the involvement of other subsites on protein 4.2 in interaction with the CDB3, the evidence suggests that the region encompassing amino acid residues 187-211 is one of the domains critical for the protein 4.2-CDB3 interaction. This is also the first demonstration that palmitoylation serves as a positive modulator of this interaction.

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