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Tropomodulin 1 Regulation of Actin Is Required for the Formation of Large Paddle Protrusions Between Mature Lens Fiber Cells.

  • Author(s): Cheng, Catherine
  • Nowak, Roberta B
  • Biswas, Sondip K
  • Lo, Woo-Kuen
  • FitzGerald, Paul G
  • Fowler, Velia M
  • et al.


To elucidate the proteins required for specialized small interlocking protrusions and large paddle domains at lens fiber cell tricellular junctions (vertices), we developed a novel method to immunostain single lens fibers and studied changes in cell morphology due to loss of tropomodulin 1 (Tmod1), an F-actin pointed end-capping protein.


We investigated F-actin and F-actin-binding protein localization in interdigitations of Tmod1+/+ and Tmod1-/- single mature lens fibers.


F-actin-rich small protrusions and large paddles were present along cell vertices of Tmod1+/+ mature fibers. In contrast, Tmod1-/- mature fiber cells lack normal paddle domains, while small protrusions were unaffected. In Tmod1+/+ mature fibers, Tmod1, β2-spectrin, and α-actinin are localized in large puncta in valleys between paddles; but in Tmod1-/- mature fibers, β2-spectrin was dispersed while α-actinin was redistributed at the base of small protrusions and rudimentary paddles. Fimbrin and Arp3 (actin-related protein 3) were located in puncta at the base of small protrusions, while N-cadherin and ezrin outlined the cell membrane in both Tmod1+/+ and Tmod1-/- mature fibers.


These results suggest that distinct F-actin organizations are present in small protrusions versus large paddles. Formation and/or maintenance of large paddle domains depends on a β2-spectrin-actin network stabilized by Tmod1. α-Actinin-crosslinked F-actin bundles are enhanced in absence of Tmod1, indicating altered cytoskeleton organization. Formation of small protrusions is likely facilitated by Arp3-branched and fimbrin-bundled F-actin networks, which do not depend on Tmod1. This is the first work to reveal the F-actin-associated proteins required for the formation of paddles between lens fibers.

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