5 years ago

Otoferlin is a multivalent calcium-sensitive scaffold linking SNAREs and calcium channels [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

Otoferlin is a multivalent calcium-sensitive scaffold linking SNAREs and calcium channels [Biophysics and Computational Biology]
Colin P. Johnson, Murugesh Padmanarayana, Nicole Hams, Weihong Qiu

Sensory hair cells rely on otoferlin as the calcium sensor for exocytosis and encoding of sound preferentially over the neuronal calcium sensor synaptotagmin. Although it is established that synaptotagmin cannot rescue the otoferlin KO phenotype, the large size and low solubility of otoferlin have prohibited direct biochemical comparisons that could establish functional differences between these two proteins. To address this challenge, we have developed a single-molecule colocalization binding titration assay (smCoBRA) that can quantitatively characterize full-length otoferlin from mammalian cell lysate. Using smCoBRA, we found that, although both otoferlin and synaptotagmin bind membrane fusion SNARE proteins, only otoferlin interacts with the L-type calcium channel Cav1.3, showing a significant difference between the synaptic proteins. Furthermore, otoferlin was found capable of interacting with multiple SNARE and Cav1.3 proteins simultaneously, forming a heterooligomer complex. We also found that a deafness-causing missense mutation in otoferlin attenuates binding between otoferlin and Cav1.3, suggesting that deficiencies in this interaction may form the basis for otoferlin-related hearing loss. Based on our results, we propose a model in which otoferlin acts as a calcium-sensitive scaffolding protein, localizing SNARE proteins proximal to the calcium channel so as to synchronize calcium influx with membrane fusion. Our findings also provide a molecular-level explanation for the observation that synaptotagmin and otoferlin are not functionally redundant. This study also validates a generally applicable methodology for quantitatively characterizing large, multivalent membrane proteins.

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