Espins are multifunctional actin cytoskeletal regulatory proteins in the microvilli of chemosensory and mechanosensory cells

Gabriella Sekerková, Lili Zheng, Patricia A. Loomis, Benjarat Changyaleket, Donna S. Whitlon, Enrico Mugnaini, James R. Bartles*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations

Abstract

Espins are associated with the parallel actin bundles of hair cell stereocilia and are the target of mutations that cause deafness and vestibular dysfunction in mice and humans. Here, we report that espins are also concentrated in the microvilli of a number of other sensory cells: vomeronasal organ sensory neurons, solitary chemoreceptor cells, taste cells, and Merkel cells. Moreover, we show that hair cells and these other sensory cells contain novel espin isoforms that arise from a different transcriptional start site and differ significantly from other espin isoforms in their complement of ligand-binding activities and their effects on actin polymerization. The novel espin isoforms of sensory cells bundled actin filaments with high affinity in a Ca2+-resistant manner, bound actin monomer via a WASP (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein) homology 2 domain, bound profilin via a single proline-rich peptide, and caused a dramatic elongation of microvillus-type parallel actin bundles in transfected epithelial cells. In addition, the novel espin isoforms of sensory cells differed from other espin isoforms in that they potently inhibited actin polymerization in vitro, did not bind the Src homology 3 domain of the adapter protein insulin receptor substrate p53, and did not bind the acidic, signaling phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. Thus, the espins constitute a family of multifunctional actin cytoskeletal regulatory proteins with the potential to differentially influence the organization, dimensions, dynamics, and signaling capabilities of the actin filament-rich, microvillus-type specializations that mediate sensory transduction in various mechanosensory and chemosensory cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5445-5456
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 9 2004

Keywords

  • Merkel cell
  • Müller cell
  • PIP2
  • SH3 domain
  • Taste cell
  • Vomeronasal organ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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