Measurements of integral membrane protein lateral mobility and rotational mobility have been separately used to investigate dynamic protein--protein and protein-lipid interactions that underlie plasma membrane structure and function. In model bilayer membranes, the mobilities of reconstituted proteins depend on the size of the diffusing molecule and the viscosity of the lipid bilayer. There are no direct tests, however, of the relationship between mechanisms that control protein lateral mobility and rotational mobility in intact biological membranes. We have measured the lateral and rotational mobility of band 3 in spectrin-deficient red blood cells from patients with hereditary spherocytosis and hereditary pyropoikilocytosis. Our data suggest that band 3 lateral mobility is regulated by the spectrin content of the red cell membrane. In contrast, band 3 rotational mobility is unaffected by changes in spectrin content. Band 3 lateral mobility and rotational mobility must therefore be controlled by different molecular mechanisms.
J D Corbett, P Agre, J Palek, D E Golan