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J Biol Chem. 2002 Oct 4;277(40):37771-6. Epub 2002 Jul 29.

Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate (PIP2)-induced vesicle movement depends on N-WASP and involves Nck, WIP, and Grb2.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Gesellschaft für Biotechnologische Forschung (GBF), Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany.


Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)/Scar family proteins promote actin polymerization by stimulating the actin-nucleating activity of the Arp2/3 complex. While Scar/WAVE proteins are thought to be involved in lamellipodia protrusion, the hematopoietic WASP has been implicated in various actin-based processes such as chemotaxis, podosome formation, and phagocytosis. Here we show that the ubiquitously expressed N-WASP is essential for actin assembly at the surface of endomembranes induced as a consequence of increased phosphatidylinositol 4,5-biphosphate (PIP2) levels. This process resulting in the motility of intracellular vesicles at the tips of actin comets involved the recruitment of the Src homology 3 (SH3)-SH2 adaptor proteins Nck and Grb2 as well as of WASP interacting protein (WIP). Reconstitution of vesicle movement in N-WASP-defective cells by expression of various N-WASP mutant proteins revealed three independent domains capable of interaction with the vesicle surface, of which both the WH1 and the polyproline domains contributed significantly to N-WASP recruitment and/or activation. In contrast, the direct interaction of N-WASP with the Rho-GTPase Cdc42 was not required for reconstitution of vesicle motility. Our data reveal a distinct cellular phenotype for N-WASP loss of function, which adds to accumulating evidence that the proposed link between actin and membrane dynamics may, at least partially, be reflected by the actin-based movement of vesicles through the cytoplasm.

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