Dynamic compartmentalization of protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor Q at the proximal end of stereocilia: implication of myosin VI-based transport

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2008 Jul;65(7):528-38. doi: 10.1002/cm.20275.


Hair cell stereocilia are apical membrane protrusions filled with uniformly polarized actin filament bundles. Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor Q (PTPRQ), a membrane protein with extracellular fibronectin repeats has been shown to localize at the stereocilia base and the apical hair cell surface, and to be essential for stereocilia integrity. We analyzed the distribution of PTPRQ and a possible mechanism for its compartmentalization. Using immunofluorescence we demonstrate that PTPRQ is compartmentalized at the stereocilia base with a decaying gradient from base to apex. This distribution can be explained by a model of transport directed toward the stereocilia base, which counteracts diffusion of the molecules. By mathematical analysis, we show that this counter transport is consistent with the minus end-directed movement of myosin VI along the stereocilia actin filaments. Myosin VI is localized at the stereocilia base, and exogenously expressed myosin VI and PTPRQ colocalize in the perinuclear endosomes in COS-7 cells. In myosin VI-deficient mice, PTPRQ is distributed along the entire stereocilia. PTPRQ-deficient mice show a pattern of stereocilia disruption that is similar to that reported in myosin VI-deficient mice, where the predominant features are loss of tapered base, and fusion of adjacent stereocilia. Thin section and freeze-etching electron microscopy showed that localization of PTPRQ coincides with the presence of a dense cell surface coat. Our results suggest that PTPRQ and myosin VI form a complex that dynamically maintains the organization of the cell surface coat at the stereocilia base and helps maintain the structure of the overall stereocilia bundle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anura
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Hair Cells, Auditory* / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory* / ultrastructure
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 3 / genetics
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 3 / metabolism*


  • myosin VI
  • Ptprq protein, mouse
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases, Class 3
  • Myosin Heavy Chains