Spectrins are now recognized as scaffolding components of membrane micro-domains in all tested cells, working as important regulators of cell shape and deformability, but their expression and functions in neurons is still not well understood.

When spectrins were first identified in the plasma membrane of erythrocytes their presence and role in neurons were still unimaginable.

Lacas-Gervais and colleagues (β1VΣ1 spectrin stabilizes the nodes of Ranvier and axon initial segments. J. Cell Biol. 166, 983-990, 2004) in a well conducted research published in the Journal of Cell Biology studied the expression of spectrins at the level of axon unmyelinated areas, such as initial segments and nodes of Ranvier, and their function in nerve conduction.

The findings have important implications for axonal physiology in normal and pathological conditions and strongly support a scaffolding role of spectrins in nerve cells.


BM&L-December 2004