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Mol Cell Biol. 1993 Dec;13(12):7864-73.

Mutational analysis of yeast profilin.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109.


We have mutated two regions within the yeast profilin gene in an effort to functionally dissect the roles of actin and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) binding in profilin function. A series of truncations was carried out at the C terminus of profilin, a region that has been implicated in actin binding. Removal of the last three amino acids nearly eliminated the ability of profilin to bind polyproline in vitro but had no dramatic in vivo effects. Thus, the extreme C terminus is implicated in polyproline binding, but the physiological relevance of this interaction is called into question. More extensive truncation, of up to eight amino acids, had in vivo effects of increasing severity and resulted in changes in conformation and expression level of the mutant profilins. However, the ability of these mutants to bind actin in vitro was not eliminated, suggesting that this region cannot be solely responsible for actin binding. We also mutagenized a region of profilin that we hypothesized might be involved in PIP2 binding. Alteration of basic amino acids in this region produced mutant profilins that functioned well in vivo. Many of these mutants, however, were unable to suppress the loss of adenylate cyclase-associated protein (Cap/Srv2p [A. Vojtek, B. Haarer, J. Field, J. Gerst, T. D. Pollard, S. S. Brown, and M. Wigler, Cell 66:497-505, 1991]), indicating that a defect could be demonstrated in vivo. In vitro assays demonstrated that the inability to suppress loss of Cap/Srv2p correlated with a defect in the interaction with actin, independently of whether PIP2 binding was reduced. Since our earlier studies of Acanthamoeba profilins suggested the importance of PIP2 binding for suppression, we conclude that both activities are implicated and that an interplay between PIP2 binding and actin binding may be important for profilin function.

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