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Hum Mol Genet. 2010 Sep 15;19(18):3557-65. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddq271. Epub 2010 Jul 16.

Cadherin-23, myosin VIIa and harmonin, encoded by Usher syndrome type I genes, form a ternary complex and interact with membrane phospholipids.

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Département de Neuroscience, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.


Cadherin-23 is a component of early transient lateral links of the auditory sensory cells' hair bundle, the mechanoreceptive structure to sound. This protein also makes up the upper part of the tip links that control gating of the mechanoelectrical transduction channels. We addressed the issue of the molecular complex that anchors these links to the hair bundle F-actin core. By using surface plasmon resonance assays, we show that the cytoplasmic regions of the two cadherin-23 isoforms that do or do not contain the exon68-encoded peptide directly interact with harmonin, a submembrane PDZ (post-synaptic density, disc large, zonula occludens) domain-containing protein, with unusually high affinity. This interaction involves the harmonin Nter-PDZ1 supramodule, but not the C-terminal PDZ-binding motif of cadherin-23. We establish that cadherin-23 directly binds to the tail of myosin VIIa. Moreover, cadherin-23, harmonin and myosin VIIa can form a ternary complex, which suggests that myosin VIIa applies tension forces on hair bundle links. We also show that the cadherin-23 cytoplasmic region, harmonin and myosin VIIa interact with phospholipids on synthetic liposomes. Harmonin and the cytoplasmic region of cadherin-23, both independently and as a binary complex, can bind specifically to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P(2)), which may account for the role of this phospholipid in the adaptation of mechanoelectrical transduction in the hair bundle. The distributions of cadherin-23, harmonin, myosin VIIa and PI(4,5)P(2) in the growing and mature auditory hair bundles as well as the abnormal locations of harmonin and myosin VIIa in cadherin-23 null mutant mice strongly support the functional relevance of these interactions.

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