Functional analysis of the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of Pcdh15a in zebrafish hair cells
Published: 02-25-2017 In Publication
Protocadherin 15 (PCDH15) is required for mechanotransduction in sensory hair cells as a component of the tip link. Isoforms of PCDH15 differ in their cytoplasmic domains (CD1, CD2, and CD3), but share the extracellular and transmembrane (TMD) domains, as well as an intracellular domain known as the common region (CR). In heterologous expression systems, both the TMD and CR of PCDH15 have been shown to interact with members of the mechanotransduction complex. The in vivo significance of these protein-protein interaction domains of PCDH15 in hair cells has not been determined. Here we examined the localization and function of the two isoforms of zebrafish Pcdh15a (CD1 and CD3) in pcdh15a null mutants by assessing Pcdh15a transgene-mediated rescue of auditory/vestibular behavior, hair-cell morphology and activity. We found that either isoform alone was able to rescue the Pcdh15a-null phenotype, and that the CD1 or CD3 specific regions were dispensable for hair-bundle integrity and labeling of hair cells with FM4-64, which was used as a proxy for mechanotransduction. When either the CR or TMD domain were deleted, the mutated proteins localized to the stereocilial tips, but were unable to rescue FM4-64 labeling. Disrupting both domains led to a complete failure of Pcdh15a to localize to the hair bundle. Our findings demonstrate that the TMD and cytoplasmic CR domains are required for the in vivo function of Pcdh15a in zebrafish hair cells.