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Nat Cell Biol. 2005 Feb;7(2):148-56. Epub 2005 Jan 16.

Myosin-XVa is required for tip localization of whirlin and differential elongation of hair-cell stereocilia.

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Section on Human Genetics, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


Stereocilia are microvilli-derived mechanosensory organelles that are arranged in rows of graded heights on the apical surface of inner-ear hair cells. The 'staircase'-like architecture of stereocilia bundles is necessary to detect sound and head movement, and is achieved through differential elongation of the actin core of each stereocilium to a predetermined length. Abnormally short stereocilia bundles that have a diminished staircase are characteristic of the shaker 2 (Myo15a(sh2)) and whirler (Whrn(wi)) strains of deaf mice. We show that myosin-XVa is a motor protein that, in vivo, interacts with the third PDZ domain of whirlin through its carboxy-terminal PDZ-ligand. Myosin-XVa then delivers whirlin to the tips of stereocilia. Moreover, if green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Myo15a is transfected into hair cells of Myo15a(sh2) mice, the wild-type pattern of hair bundles is restored by recruitment of endogenous whirlin to the tips of stereocilia. The interaction of myosin-XVa and whirlin is therefore a key event in hair-bundle morphogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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