Spectrin was first discovered as a membrane-associated component of erythrocytes in 1968 (Marchesi and Steers 1968). The name was suggested due to the fact that the protein is extractable from red blood cell ghosts (specter), membranes isolated by hypotonic lysis of erythrocytes that retain original shape of these cells. A few years later, the spectrin-based membrane skeleton was first visualized in detergent-extracted erythrocytes by electron microscopy. However, it was over 10 years later when electron micrographs of intact erythrocytes revealed hexagonal network of spectrin filaments interconnected by junctional points (Byers and Branton 1985). Meanwhile, it appeared that isoforms of spectrin can be found in other cells (Goodman et al. 1981), which suggested that spectrin-based membrane skeleton might be essential also for nonerythroid cells. Now, after 50 years of spectrin discovery, it is...
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