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J Cell Sci. 2014 Mar 1;127(Pt 5):1007-17. doi: 10.1242/jcs.137273. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Myosin Vb and Rab11a regulate phosphorylation of ezrin in enterocytes.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.


Microvilli at the apical surface of enterocytes allow the efficient absorption of nutrients in the intestine. Ezrin activation by its phosphorylation at T567 is important for microvilli development, but how such ezrin phosphorylation is controlled is not well understood. We demonstrate that a subset of kinases that phosphorylate ezrin closely co-distributes with apical recycling endosome marker Rab11a in the subapical domain. Expression of dominant-negative Rab11a mutant or depletion of the Rab11a-binding motor protein myosin Vb prevents the subapical enrichment of Rab11a and these kinases and inhibits ezrin phosphorylation and microvilli development, without affecting the polarized distribution of ezrin itself. We observe a similar loss of the subapical enrichment of Rab11a and the kinases and reduced phosphorylation of ezrin in microvillus inclusion disease, which is associated with MYO5B mutations, intestinal microvilli atrophy and malabsorption. Thus, part of the machinery for ezrin activation depends on recycling endosomes controlled by myosin Vb and Rab11a which, we propose, might act as subapical signaling platforms that enterocytes use to regulate development of microvilli and maintain human intestinal function.


Apical; Enterocyte; Microvilli; Microvillus inclusion disease; Recycling endosome

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