Myosin IIC: A third molecular motor driving neuronal dynamics

Wylie, S R and Chantler, P D (2008) Myosin IIC: A third molecular motor driving neuronal dynamics. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL, 19 (9). pp. 3956-3968.

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Neuronal dynamics result from the integration of forces developed by molecular motors, especially conventional myosins. Myosin IIC is a recently discovered nonsarcomeric conventional myosin motor, the function of which is poorly understood, particularly in relation to the separate but coupled activities of its close homologues, myosins IIA and IIB, which participate in neuronal adhesion, outgrowth and retraction. To determine myosin IIC function, we have applied a comparative functional knockdown approach by using isoform-specific antisense oligodeoxyribonucleotides to deplete expression within neuronally derived cells. Myosin IIC was found to be critical for driving neuronal process outgrowth, a function that it shares with myosin IIB. Additionally, myosin IIC modulates neuronal cell adhesion, a function that it shares with myosin IIA but not myosin IIB. Consistent with this role, myosin IIC knockdown caused a concomitant decrease in paxillin-phospho-Tyr118 immunofluorescence, similar to knockdown of myosin IIA but not myosin IIB. Myosin IIC depletion also created a distinctive phenotype with increased cell body diameter, increased vacuolization, and impaired responsiveness to triggered neurite collapse by lysophosphatidic acid. This novel combination of properties suggests that myosin IIC must participate in distinctive cellular roles and reinforces our view that closely related motor isoforms drive diverse functions within neuronal cells.

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