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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.25.542257

Inhibitory G proteins play multiple roles to polarize sensory hair cell morphogenesis

A.Jarysta A. L. D. Tadenev M. Day ...+3 B. Tarchini
Inhibitory G alpha (GNAI or Gi) proteins are critical for the polarized morphogenesis of sensory hair cells and for hearing. The extent and nature of their actual contributions remains unclear, however, as previous studies did not investigate all GNAI proteins and included non-physiological approaches. Pertussis toxin can downregulate functionally redundant GNAI1, GNAI2, GNAI3 and GNAO proteins, but may also induce unrelated defects. Here we directly and systematically determined the role(s) of each individual GNAI protein in mouse auditory hair cells. GNAI2 and GNAI3 are similarly polarized at the hair cell apex with their binding partner GPSM2, whereas GNAI1 and GNAO are neither detected nor polarized. In Gnai3 mutants, GNAI2 progressively fails to fully occupy the subcellular compartments where GNAI3 is missing. In contrast, GNAI3 can fully compensate for the loss of GNAI2 and is essential for hair bundle morphogenesis and auditory function. Simultaneous inactivation of Gnai2 and Gnai3 recapitulates for the first time two distinct types of defects only observed so far with pertussis toxin: 1) a delay or failure of the basal body to migrate off-center in prospective hair cells, and 2) a reversal in the orientation of some hair cell types. We conclude that GNAI proteins are critical for hair cells to break planar symmetry and to orient properly before GNAI2/3 regulate hair bundle morphogenesis with GPSM2.