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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Mar 12;116(11):4999-5008. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816333116. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Par3 is essential for the establishment of planar cell polarity of inner ear hair cells.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908.
Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, Augusta, GA 30912.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908;


In the inner ear sensory epithelia, stereociliary hair bundles atop sensory hair cells are mechanosensory apparatus with planar polarized structure and orientation. This is established during development by the concerted action of tissue-level, intercellular planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling and a hair cell-intrinsic, microtubule-mediated machinery. However, how various polarity signals are integrated during hair bundle morphogenesis is poorly understood. Here, we show that the conserved cell polarity protein Par3 is essential for planar polarization of hair cells. Par3 deletion in the inner ear disrupted cochlear outgrowth, hair bundle orientation, kinocilium positioning, and basal body planar polarity, accompanied by defects in the organization and cortical attachment of hair cell microtubules. Genetic mosaic analysis revealed that Par3 functions both cell-autonomously and cell-nonautonomously to regulate kinocilium positioning and hair bundle orientation. At the tissue level, intercellular PCP signaling regulates the asymmetric localization of Par3, which in turn maintains the asymmetric localization of the core PCP protein Vangl2. Mechanistically, Par3 interacts with and regulates the localization of Tiam1 and Trio, which are guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rac, thereby stimulating Rac-Pak signaling. Finally, constitutively active Rac1 rescued the PCP defects in Par3-deficient cochleae. Thus, a Par3-GEF-Rac axis mediates both tissue-level and hair cell-intrinsic PCP signaling.


Par3; hair cell; microtubule; planar cell polarity; stereocilia

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