The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton is essential for many cellular processes, including cell polarity and migration. Cortical platforms, formed by a subset of MT plus-end-tracking proteins, such as CLASP2, and non-MT binding proteins such as LL5β, attach distal ends of MTs to the cell cortex. However, the mechanisms involved in organizing these platforms have not yet been described in detail. Here we show that 4.1R, a FERM-domain-containing protein, interacts and colocalizes with cortical CLASP2 and is required for the correct number and dynamics of CLASP2 cortical platforms. Protein 4.1R also controls binding of CLASP2 to MTs at the cell edge by locally altering GSK3 activity. Furthermore, in 4.1R-knockdown cells MT plus-ends were maintained for longer in the vicinity of cell edges, but instead of being tethered to the cell cortex, MTs continued to grow, bending at cell margins and losing their radial distribution. Our results suggest a previously unidentified role for the scaffolding protein 4.1R in locally controlling CLASP2 behavior, CLASP2 cortical platform turnover and GSK3 activity, enabling correct MT organization and dynamics essential for cell polarity.
Keywords: CLASP2; Cortical platforms; Microtubule dynamics; Microtubule organization; Protein 4.1R.