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J Neurosci. 2015 Feb 18;35(7):3073-84. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3699-14.2015.

The PDZ-domain protein Whirlin facilitates mechanosensory signaling in mammalian proprioceptors.

Author information

1
Departments of Neuroscience, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, sd382@columbia.edu tmj1@columbia.edu g.s.bewick@abdn.ac.uk.
2
Pathology and Cell Biology, Motor Neuron Center for Biology and Disease.
3
School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, United Kingdom.
4
Departments of Neuroscience, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.
5
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridgeshire CB10 1SA, United Kingdom, and.
6
School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3LE, United Kingdom.
7
Pathology and Cell Biology, Neurology, Motor Neuron Center for Biology and Disease.
8
School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, United Kingdom, sd382@columbia.edu tmj1@columbia.edu g.s.bewick@abdn.ac.uk.
9
Departments of Neuroscience, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, sd382@columbia.edu tmj1@columbia.edu g.s.bewick@abdn.ac.uk.

Abstract

Mechanoreception is an essential feature of many sensory modalities. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that govern the conversion of a mechanical force to distinct patterns of action potentials remain poorly understood. Proprioceptive mechanoreceptors reside in skeletal muscle and inform the nervous system of the position of body and limbs in space. We show here that Whirlin/Deafness autosomal recessive 31 (DFNB31), a PDZ-scaffold protein involved in vestibular and auditory hair cell transduction, is also expressed by proprioceptive sensory neurons (pSNs) in dorsal root ganglia in mice. Whirlin localizes to the peripheral sensory endings of pSNs and facilitates pSN afferent firing in response to muscle stretch. The requirement of Whirlin in both proprioceptors and hair cells suggests that accessory mechanosensory signaling molecules define common features of mechanoreceptive processing across sensory systems.

KEYWORDS:

PDZ proteins; mechanoreception; muscle spindle; proprioceptors; sensory-motor control

PMID:
25698744
PMCID:
PMC4331628
DOI:
10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3699-14.2015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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