ERM-Merlin and EBP50 protein families in plasma membrane organization and function

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2000;16:113-43. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.16.1.113.


The ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) family of proteins have emerged as key regulatory molecules in linking F-actin to specific membrane proteins, especially in cell surface structures. Merlin, the product of the NF2 tumor suppressor gene, has sequence similarity to ERM proteins and binds to some of the same membrane proteins, but lacks a C-terminal F-actin binding site. In this review we discuss how ERM proteins and merlin are negatively regulated by an intramolecular association between their N- and C-terminal domains. Activation of at least ERM proteins can be accomplished by C-terminal phosphorylation in the presence of PIP2. We also discuss membrane proteins to which ERM and merlin bind, including those making an indirect linkage through the PDZ-containing adaptor molecules EBP50 and E3KARP. Finally, the function of these proteins in cortical structure, endocytic traffic, signal transduction, and growth control is discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / chemistry
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Neurofibromin 2
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neurofibromin 2
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers
  • sodium-hydrogen exchanger regulatory factor