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Curr Biol. 1999 May 20;9(10):555-8.

The Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein directs actin-based motility by stimulating actin nucleation with the Arp2/3 complex.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Abstract

Actin polymerization at the cell cortex is thought to provide the driving force for aspects of cell-shape change and locomotion. To coordinate cellular movements, the initiation of actin polymerization is tightly regulated, both spatially and temporally. The Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP), encoded by the gene that is mutated in the immunodeficiency disorder Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome [1], has been implicated in the control of actin polymerization in cells [2] [3] [4] [5]. The Arp2/3 complex, an actin-nucleating factor that consists of seven polypeptide subunits [6] [7] [8], was recently shown to physically interact with WASP [9]. We sought to determine whether WASP is a cellular activator of the Arp2/3 complex and found that WASP stimulates the actin nucleation activity of the Arp2/3 complex in vitro. Moreover, WASP-coated microspheres polymerized actin, formed actin tails and exhibited actin-based motility in cell extracts, similar to those behaviors displayed by the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. In extracts depleted of the Arp2/3 complex, WASP-coated microspheres and L. monocytogenes were non-motile and exhibited only residual actin polymerization. These results demonstrate that WASP is sufficient to direct actin-based motility in cell extracts and that this function is mediated by the Arp2/3 complex. WASP interacts with diverse signaling proteins and may therefore function to couple signal transduction pathways to Arp2/3-complex activation and actin polymerization.

PMID:
10339430
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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