Red cell membrane glycophorin labeling from within the lipid bilayer

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Science  28 Jul 1978:
Vol. 201, Issue 4353, pp. 351-352
DOI: 10.1126/science.663661


Human red blood cell membranes were labeled from within the lipid bilayer by the apolar photosensitive reagent, 5-[125I]iodonaphthyl-1-azide. Glycophorin, the major sialoglycoprotein of the red cell membrane, was purified by two different methods; it contained approximately half of the total label incorporated into membrane proteins. The label was confined to the trypsin-insoluble peptide of glycophorin that includes a sequence of 20, mainly apolar, amino acids. These findings provide direct evidence that the labeled segment resides within the membrane in direct contact with the lipid bilayer, and support the suggestion that glycophorin spans the bilayer through its hydrophobic domain.