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Curr Biol. 2001 Jun 5;11(11):891-5.

The Abl interactor proteins localize to sites of actin polymerization at the tips of lamellipodia and filopodia.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 5020, Salzburg, Austria.


Cell movement is mediated by the protrusion of cytoplasm in the form of sheet- and rod-like extensions, termed lamellipodia and filopodia. Protrusion is driven by actin polymerization, a process that is regulated by signaling complexes that are, as yet, poorly defined. Since actin assembly is controlled at the tips of lamellipodia and filopodia [1], these juxtamembrane sites are likely to harbor the protein complexes that control actin polymerization dynamics underlying cell motility. An understanding of the regulation of protrusion therefore requires the characterization of the molecular components recruited to these sites. The Abl interactor (Abi) proteins, targets of Abl tyrosine kinases [2-4], have been implicated in Rac-dependent cytoskeletal reorganization in response to growth factor stimulation [5]. Here, we describe the unique localization of Abi proteins in living, motile cells. We show that Abi-1 and Abi-2b fused to enhanced yellow fluorescent protein (EYFP) are recruited to the tips of lamellipodia and filopodia. We identify the targeting domain as the homologous N terminus of these two proteins. Our findings are the first to suggest a direct involvement of members of the Abi protein family in the control of actin polymerization in protrusion events, and establish the Abi proteins as potential regulators of motility.

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