Microvilli defects in retinas of ezrin knockout mice

Exp Eye Res. 2006 Apr;82(4):720-9. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2005.09.013. Epub 2005 Nov 10.


Ezrin, a member of the ezrin/moesin/radixin (ERM) family, localizes to microvilli of epithelia in vivo, where it functions as a bridge between actin filaments and plasma membrane proteins. In the eye, ezrin has been localized to both apical microvilli of Müller cells and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) apical microvilli and basal infoldings. In the present study, we analyze these structures in the eyes of early postnatal ezrin knockout mice. This analysis indicates that the loss of ezrin leads to substantial reductions in the apical microvilli and basal infoldings in RPE cells and in the Müller cell apical microvilli. The absence of apical microvilli in the RPE is accompanied by the presence of microvilli-like inclusions (MIs) in the RPE cytoplasm. Finally, photoreceptors in the ezrin knockout animals show substantial retardation in development as compared to their wild type littermates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Cytoplasm / pathology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / analysis
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Microvilli / metabolism
  • Microvilli / pathology
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Photoreceptor Cells / pathology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / metabolism
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / pathology*


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • ezrin