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Mol Biol Cell. 2003 Jul;14(7):2716-27. Epub 2003 Apr 17.

Villidin, a novel WD-repeat and villin-related protein from Dictyostelium, is associated with membranes and the cytoskeleton.

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Institut für Zellbiologie der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 80336 München, Germany.


Villidin is a novel multidomain protein (190 kDa) from Dictyostelium amoebae containing WD repeats at its N-terminus, three PH domains in the middle of the molecule, and five gelsolin-like segments at the C-terminus, followed by a villin-like headpiece. Villidin mRNA and protein are present in low amounts during growth and early aggregation, but increase during development and reach their highest levels at the tipped mound stage. The protein is present in the cytosol as well as in the cytoskeletal and membrane fractions. GFP-tagged full-length villidin exhibits a similar distribution as native villidin, including a distinct colocalization with Golgi structures. Interestingly, GFP fusions with the gelsolin/villin-like region are uniformly dispersed in the cytoplasm, whereas GFP fusions of the N-terminal WD repeats codistribute with F-actin and are associated with the Triton-insoluble cytoskeleton. Strains lacking villidin because of targeted deletion of its gene grow normally and can develop into fruiting bodies. However, cell motility is reduced during aggregation and phototaxis is impaired in the mutant strains. We conclude that villidin harbors a major F-actin binding site in the N-terminal domain and not in the villin-like region as expected; association of villidin with vesicular membranes suggests that the protein functions as a linker between membranes and the actin cytoskeleton.

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