Cellular signalling

Ataxin-2 associates with the endocytosis complex and affects EGF receptor trafficking.

PMID 18602463


Ataxin-2 is a novel protein, where the unstable expansion of an internal polyglutamine domain can cause the neurodegenerative disease Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 2 (SCA2). To elucidate its cellular function, we have used full-length ataxin-2 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen of human adult brain cDNA. As binding partners we found endophilin A1 and A3, two brain-expressed members of the endophilin A family involved in synaptic vesicle endocytosis. Co-immunoprecipitation studies confirmed the binding of these proteins as an endogenous complex in mouse brain. In vitro binding experiments narrowed the binding interfaces down to two proline-rich domains on ataxin-2, which interacted with the SH3 domain of endophilin A1/A3. Ataxin-2 and endophilin associated at the endoplasmic reticulum as well as at the plasma membrane as determined by immunofluorescence microscopy of transfected cell lines, and by centrifugation fractionation studies of mouse brain. Importantly, the pattern observed in transfected cells was conserved in rat hippocampal neurons. In the mouse brain, an association of ataxin-2 with endocytic proteins such as the adaptor CIN85 and the ubiquitin ligase c-Cbl was also demonstrated. GST pull-down assays showed ataxin-2 to directly interact with the SH3 domains A and C of CIN85 and with the SH3 domain of Src, a kinase activated after receptor stimulation. Functional studies demonstrated that ataxin-2 affects endocytic trafficking of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Taken together, these data implicate ataxin-2 to play a role in endocytic receptor cycling.