Intestinal brush border formation requires a TMIGD1-based intermicrovillar adhesion complex

Sci Signal. 2022 Sep 13;15(751):eabm2449. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.abm2449. Epub 2022 Sep 13.


Intestinal epithelial cells absorb nutrients through the brush border, composed of dense arrays of highly ordered microvilli at their apical membranes. A protocadherin-based intermicrovillar adhesion complex localized at microvilli tips mediates microvilli packing and organization. Here, we identified a second adhesion complex localized at the proximal base region of microvilli. This complex contained the immunoglobulin superfamily member TMIGD1, which directly interacted with the microvillar scaffolding proteins EBP50 and E3KARP. Complex formation with EBP50 required the activation of EBP50 by the actin-binding protein ezrin and was enhanced by the dephosphorylation of Ser162 in the PDZ2 domain of EBP50 by the phosphatase PP1α. Binding of the EBP50-ezrin complex to TMIGD1 enhanced the dynamic turnover of EBP50 at microvilli. Enterocyte-specific inactivation of Tmigd1 in mice resulted in microvillar blebbing, loss of intermicrovillar adhesion, and perturbed brush border formation. Thus, we identified a second adhesion complex in microvilli and propose a mechanism that promotes microvillar formation and dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells* / metabolism
  • Intestines*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Microvilli / metabolism


  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Microfilament Proteins