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ESCRT-III-associated proteins and spastin inhibit protrudin-dependent polarised membrane traffic

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Connell, James W. 
Allison, Rachel J. 
Rodger, Catherine E. 
Pearson, Guy 
Zlamalova, Eliska 


Abstract: Mutations in the gene encoding the microtubule severing ATPase spastin are the most frequent cause of hereditary spastic paraplegia, a genetic condition characterised by length-dependent axonal degeneration. Here, we show that HeLa cells lacking spastin and embryonic fibroblasts from a spastin knock-in mouse model become highly polarised and develop cellular protrusions. In HeLa cells, this phenotype was rescued by wild-type spastin, but not by forms unable to sever microtubules or interact with endosomal ESCRT-III proteins. Cells lacking the spastin-interacting ESCRT-III-associated proteins IST1 or CHMP1B also developed protrusions. The protrusion phenotype required protrudin, a RAB-interacting protein that interacts with spastin and localises to ER–endosome contact sites, where it promotes KIF5-dependent endosomal motility to protrusions. Consistent with this, the protrusion phenotype in cells lacking spastin also required KIF5. Lack or mutation of spastin resulted in functional consequences for receptor traffic of a pathway implicated in HSP, as Bone Morphogenetic Protein receptor distribution became polarised. Our results, therefore, identify a novel role for ESCRT-III proteins and spastin in regulating polarised membrane traffic.


Funder: National Institute for Health Research; doi:

Funder: Gates Cambridge Trust; doi:


Original Article, Protrusion formation, AAA ATPase, Axonopathy, Bone morphogenetic protein signalling, Microtubule modification

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Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

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Springer International Publishing
Medical Research Council (MR/R026440/1, MR/M00046X/1, MR/K50127X/1)
Wellcome Trust (082381, 100140, 093026)