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Mol Cell. 2000 Dec;6(6):1425-36.

Direct binding of the Na--H exchanger NHE1 to ERM proteins regulates the cortical cytoskeleton and cell shape independently of H(+) translocation.

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Department of Stomatology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


The association of actin filaments with the plasma membrane maintains cell shape and adhesion. Here, we show that the plasma membrane ion exchanger NHE1 acts as an anchor for actin filaments to control the integrity of the cortical cytoskeleton. This occurs through a previously unrecognized structural link between NHE1 and the actin binding proteins ezrin, radixin, and moesin (ERM). NHE1 and ERM proteins associate directly and colocalize in lamellipodia. Fibroblasts expressing NHE1 with mutations that disrupt ERM binding, but not ion translocation, have impaired organization of focal adhesions and actin stress fibers, and an irregular cell shape. We propose a structural role for NHE1 in regulating the cortical cytoskeleton that is independent of its function as an ion exchanger.

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