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Curr Biol. 1999 May 6;9(9):501-4.

Activation of the yeast Arp2/3 complex by Bee1p, a WASP-family protein.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02115, USA.


The Arp2/3 complex is a highly conserved cytoskeletal component that has been implicated in the nucleation of actin filament assembly. Purified Arp2/3 complex has a low intrinsic actin nucleation activity, leading to the hypothesis that an unidentified cellular activator is required for the function of this complex. We showed previously that mutations in the Arp2/3 complex and in Bee1p/Las17p, a member of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein(WASP) family, lead to a loss of cortical actin structures (patches) in yeast. Bee1p has also been identified as an essential nucleation factor in the reconstitution of actin patches in vitro. Recently, it was reported that WASP-like proteins might interact directly with the Arp2/3 complex through a conserved carboxy-terminal domain. Here, we have shown that Bee1p and the Arp2/3 complex co-immunoprecipitate when expressed at endogenous levels, and that this interaction requires both the Arc15p and Arc19p subunits of the Arp2/3 complex. Furthermore, the carboxy-terminal domain of Bee1p greatly stimulated the nucleation activity of purified Arp2/3 complex in vitro, suggesting a direct role for WASP-family proteins in the activation of the Arp2/3 complex. Interestingly, deletion of the carboxy-terminal domain of Bee1p neither abolished the localization of the Arp2/3 complex, as had been suggested, nor resulted in a severe defect in cortical actin assembly. These results indicate that the function of Bee1p is not mediated entirely through its interaction with the Arp2/3 complex, and that factors redundant with Bee1p might exist to activate the nucleation activity of the Arp2/3 complex.

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