The C-terminal membrane domain of erythrocyte band 3 functions as an anion exchanger. Here, we report the three-dimensional (3D) structure of the membrane domain in an inhibitor-stabilized, outward-open conformation at 18 Å resolution. Unstained, frozen-hydrated tubular crystals containing the membrane domain of band 3 purified from human red blood cells (hB3MD) were examined using cryo-electron microscopy and iterative helical real-space reconstruction (IHRSR). The 3D image reconstruction of the tubular crystals showed the molecular packing of hB3MD dimers with dimensions of 60 × 110 Å in the membrane plane and a thickness of 70 Å across the membrane. Immunoelectron microscopy and carboxyl-terminal digestion demonstrated that the intracellular surface of hB3MD was exposed on the outer surface of the tubular crystal. A 3D density map revealed that hB3MD consists of at least two subdomains and that the outward-open form is characterized by a large hollow area on the extracellular surface and continuous density on the intracellular surface.
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