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EMBO J. 1991 Sep;10(9):2363-73.

The secretion-stimulated 80K phosphoprotein of parietal cells is ezrin, and has properties of a membrane cytoskeletal linker in the induced apical microvilli.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 94720.

Erratum in

  • EMBO J 1991 Dec;10(12):3978-81.


Stimulation of gastric acid secretion in parietal cells involves the translocation of the proton pump (H,K-ATPase) from cytoplasmic tubulovesicles to the apical membrane to form long, F-actin-containing, microvilli. Following secretion, the pump is endocytosed back into tubulovesicles. The parietal cell therefore offers a system for the study of regulated membrane recycling, with temporally separated endocytic and exocytic steps. During cAMP-mediated stimulation, an 80 kDa peripheral membrane protein becomes phosphorylated on serine residues. This protein is a major component, together with actin and the pump, of the isolated apical membrane from stimulated cells, but not the resting tubulovesicular membrane. Here we show that the gastric 80 kDa phosphoprotein is closely related or identical to ezrin, a protein whose phosphorylation on serine and tyrosine residues was recently implicated in the induction by growth factors of cell surface structures on cultured cells [Bretscher, A. (1989) J. Cell Biol., 108, 921-930]. Light and electron microscopy reveal that ezrin is associated with the actin filaments of the microvilli of stimulated cells, but not with the filaments in the terminal web. In addition, a significant amount of ezrin is present in the basolateral membrane infoldings of both resting and stimulated cells. Extraction studies show that ezrin is a cytoskeletal protein in unstimulated and stimulated cells, and its association with the cytoskeleton is more stable in stimulated cells. These studies indicate that ezrin is a membrane cytoskeletal linker that may play a key role in the control of the assembly of secretory apical microvilli in parietal cells and ultimately in the regulation of acid secretion. Taken together with the earlier studies, we suggest that ezrin might be a general substrate for kinases involved in the regulation of actin-containing cell surface structures.

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