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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Activation of the tumor suppressor merlin modulates its interaction with lipid rafts.

Neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) is a genetic disorder characterized by bilateral schwannomas of the eighth cranial nerve. The NF2 tumor suppressor protein, merlin, is related to the ERM ( ezrin, radixin, and moesin) family of membrane/F-actin linkers. Merlin resists solubilization by the detergent Triton X-100 (TX-100), a property commonly attributed to association with the cytoskeleton. Accordingly, NF2 patient mutations that encode merlins with enhanced TX-100 solubility have been explained previously in terms of loss of cytoskeletal attachment. However, here we present data to suggest that the detergent resistance of merlin is a result of its constitutive residence in lipid rafts. Furthermore, when cells are grown to high density, merlin shifts to a more buoyant lipid raft fraction in a density gradient. This shift is mimicked in subconfluent cells treated with cytochalasin D, suggesting that the shift results from merlin dissociation from the actin cytoskeleton, but not from lipid rafts. Intramolecular NH(2)- and COOH-terminal binding, which occurs when merlin transitions to the growth-suppressive form, also brings about a similar change in buoyant density. Our results suggest that constitutive residence of merlin in lipid rafts is crucial for its function and that as merlin becomes growth suppressive in vivo, one significant molecular event may be the loss of interaction with the actin cytoskeleton. To our knowledge, merlin is the first tumor suppressor known to reside within lipid rafts, and the significance of this finding is underscored by known loss-of-function NF2 patient mutations that encode merlins with enhanced TX-100 solubility.[1]

References

  1. Activation of the tumor suppressor merlin modulates its interaction with lipid rafts. Stickney, J.T., Bacon, W.C., Rojas, M., Ratner, N., Ip, W. Cancer Res. (2004) [Pubmed]
 
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