Deficiency of α-spectrin synthesis in burst-forming units-erythroid in lethal hereditary spherocytosis

C. F. Whitfield, J. B. Follweiler, L. Lopresti-Morrow, B. A. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A child diagnosed in utero with hydrops fetalis and a hematocrit of 6.4% was studied to determine the etiology of the anemia. Fetal red blood cells (RBCs) obtained during in utero transfusion had extremely abnormal osmotic fragility. A maternal history of mild autosomal dominant hereditary spherocytosis was present, and the father, who was hematologically normal, had a slightly abnormal osmotic fragility test. The patient was transfusion dependent after birth, with circulating nucleated RBCs but less than 1% reticulocytes. The patient's anemia failed to respond to splenectomy. Because mature RBCs of the patient were not available for study, progenitor-derived erythroblasts grown in culture were investigated. Immunodot assays of the patient's progenitor-derived cells showed a total cell spectrin content 26% of normal. Immunoprecipitation of whole burst-forming units-erythroid-derived cells and solubilized membranes from cells pulse-labeled with 35S-methionine showed a severe deficiency in α-spectrin synthesis and a markedly reduced amount of α- and β-spectrin on cell membranes. No α-spectrin degradation products were found within the cells or were produced during membrane preparation. Ankyrin content and band 3 synthesis were not different from control. Inheritance of two genetic defects causing severely reduced α-spectrin synthesis is proposed as the cause of the lethal anemia, resulting in cell fragmentation during precursor enucleation or during egress from bone marrow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3043-3051
Number of pages9
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 1 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Immunology
  • Hematology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Deficiency of α-spectrin synthesis in burst-forming units-erythroid in lethal hereditary spherocytosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this