Decoding Ankyrin-G Targeting and Function

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He, Meng


Bennett, Vann

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The spectrin-ankyrin network assembles diverse plasma membrane domains including axon initial segments and nodes of Ranvier, cardiomyocyte T-tubules and intercalated discs, epithelial lateral membranes, costameres and photoreceptor inner and outer segments. However the mechanism that targets the spectrin-ankyrin network to those plasma membrane domains is unknown. This thesis identifies two lipid inputs from protein palmitoylation and phosphoinositides that together control the precise localization of the spectrin-ankyrin network. In Chapter 2, we identify a linker peptide encoded by a single divergent exon that distinguishes the subcellular localization of ankyrin-B and -G by selectively suppressing protein binding through autoinhibition. In Chapter 3, we demonstrate that ankyrin-G is S-palmitoylated at a conserved C70 residue which is required to assemble epithelial lateral membranes and neuronal axon initial segments. We continue to interrogate how palmitoylation regulates ankyrin-G activities in Chapter 4, and identify DHHC5 and DHHC8 as the palmitoyltransferases in MDCK cells. We showed that palmitoylated ankyrin-G, in concert with phosphoinositide lipids, determines the polarized localization of beta II spectrin though a coincidence detection mechanism. This palmitoyltransferases/ ankyrin-G/beta II spectrin pathway determines the cell height of columnar epithelial cells. In Chapter 5, we elucidated the molecular mechanism through which the spectrin-ankyrin network assembles epithelial lateral membranes. We demonstrated that ankyrin-G and beta II spectrin function by opposing clathrin-mediated endocytosis to build the lateral membrane in MDCK cells. Together, this thesis dissects the mechanisms of how the spectrin-ankyrin network achieves precise membrane targeting and how it assembles lateral membranes to determine the morphogenesis of columnar epithelial cells, and provides the first molecular insight to understand how cells control the assembly of diverse plasma membrane domains.





He, Meng (2014). Decoding Ankyrin-G Targeting and Function. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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