The merlin interacting proteins reveal multiple targets for NF2 therapy

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Jan;1785(1):32-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2007.10.001. Epub 2007 Oct 12.


The neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) tumor suppressor protein merlin is commonly mutated in human benign brain tumors. The gene altered in NF2 was located on human chromosome 22q12 in 1993 and the encoded protein named merlin and schwannomin. Merlin has homology to ERM family proteins, ezrin, radixin, and moesin, within the protein 4.1 superfamily. In efforts to determine merlin function several groups have discovered 34 merlin interacting proteins, including ezrin, radixin, moesin, CD44, layilin, paxillin, actin, N-WASP, betaII-spectrin, microtubules, TRBP, eIF3c, PIKE, NHERF, MAP, RalGDS, RhoGDI, EG1/magicin, HEI10, HRS, syntenin, caspr/paranodin, DCC, NGB, CRM1/exportin, SCHIP1, MYPT-1-PP1delta, RIbeta, PKA, PAK (three types), calpain and Drosophila expanded. Many of the proteins that interact with the merlin N-terminal domain also bind ezrin, while other merlin interacting proteins do not bind other members of the ERM family. Merlin also interacts with itself. This review describes these proteins, their possible roles in NF2, and the resultant hypothesized merlin functions. Review of all of the merlin interacting proteins and functional consequences of losses of these interactions reveals multiple merlin actions in PI3-kinase, MAP kinase and small GTPase signaling pathways that might be targeted to inhibit the proliferation of NF2 tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / drug therapy*
  • Neurofibromatosis 2 / metabolism
  • Neurofibromin 2 / metabolism*
  • Protein Folding
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Neurofibromin 2
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • ezrin