Astrocytes are increasingly perceived as active partners in physiological brain function and behaviour. The structural correlations of the glia–synaptic interaction are the peripheral astrocyte processes (PAPs), where ezrin and radixin, the two astrocytic members of the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) family of proteins are preferentially localised. While the molecular mechanisms of ERM (in)activation appear universal, at least in mammalian cells, and have been studied in great detail, the actual ezrin and radixin kinases, phosphatases and binding partners appear cell type specific and may be multiplexed within a cell. In astrocytes, ezrin is involved in process motility, which can be stimulated by the neurotransmitter glutamate, through activation of the glial metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) 3 or 5. However, it has remained open how this mGluR stimulus is transduced to ezrin activation. Knowing upstream signals of ezrin activation, ezrin kinase(s), and membrane-bound binding partners of ezrin in astrocytes might open new approaches to the glial role in brain function. Ezrin has also been implicated in invasive behaviour of astrocytomas, and glial activation. Here, we review data pertaining to potential molecular interaction partners of ezrin in astrocytes, with a focus on PKC and GRK2, and in gliomas and other diseases, to stimulate further research on their potential roles in glia-synaptic physiology and pathology.
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