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J Biochem. 2007 Mar;141(3):319-25. Epub 2007 Jan 3.

Effect of WAVE2 phosphorylation on activation of the Arp2/3 complex.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokane-dai, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Members of the family of WASP-family Verprolin homologous proteins (WAVEs) activate the Arp2/3 complex to induce actin polymerization. The WAVE family comprises three proteins, namely, WAVE1, WAVE2 and WAVE3. Among them, WAVE2 is crucial for activation of the Arp2/3 complex for the formation of branched actin filaments in lamellipodia. Activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signalling results in the phosphorylation of the WAVE family proteins; however, which of the three WAVE proteins is phosphorylated is unclear. We found that in vitro WAVE2 is directly phosphorylated by a MAP kinase, i.e. extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 2. The proline-rich region and the verprolin, cofilin and acidic (VCA) region of WAVE2 were phosphorylated. Interestingly, the phosphorylated VCA region had a higher affinity for the Arp2/3 complex. However, the phosphorylation of the VCA region resulted in reduced induction of Arp2/3-mediated actin polymerization in vitro. The role of the phosphorylation of the proline-rich region was not determined.

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