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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 30;96(7):3739-44.

Scar, a WASp-related protein, activates nucleation of actin filaments by the Arp2/3 complex.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, England.

Abstract

The Arp2/3 complex, a stable assembly of two actin-related proteins (Arp2 and Arp3) with five other subunits, caps the pointed end of actin filaments and nucleates actin polymerization with low efficiency. WASp and Scar are two similar proteins that bind the p21 subunit of the Arp2/3 complex, but their effect on the nucleation activity of the complex was not known. We report that full-length, recombinant human Scar protein, as well as N-terminally truncated Scar proteins, enhance nucleation by the Arp2/3 complex. By themselves, these proteins either have no effect or inhibit actin polymerization. The actin monomer-binding W domain and the p21-binding A domain from the C terminus of Scar are both required to activate Arp2/3 complex. A proline-rich domain in the middle of Scar enhances the activity of the W and A domains. Preincubating Scar and Arp2/3 complex with actin filaments overcomes the initial lag in polymerization, suggesting that efficient nucleation by the Arp2/3 complex requires assembly on the side of a preexisting filament-a dendritic nucleation mechanism. The Arp2/3 complex with full-length Scar, Scar containing P, W, and A domains, or Scar containing W and A domains overcomes inhibition of nucleation by the actin monomer-binding protein profilin, giving active nucleation over a low background of spontaneous nucleation. These results show that Scar and, likely, related proteins, such as the Cdc42 targets WASp and N-WASp, are endogenous activators of actin polymerization by the Arp2/3 complex.

PMID:
10097107
PMCID:
PMC22364
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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