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J Mol Biol. 2004 Feb 13;336(2):551-65.

Identification of functionally important residues of Arp2/3 complex by analysis of homology models from diverse species.

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Department of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, P.O. Box 208103, New Haven, CT 06520-8103, USA.


We constructed homology models from the crystal structure of bovine Arp2/3 complex and sequences from six phylogenetically diverse species (Arabidopsis thaliana, Caenorhabditis elegans, Dictyostelium discoideum, Drosophila melanogaster, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Schizosaccharomyces pombe) representing over 800 million years of evolution and used conserved surface residues to search for functionally important structural elements. The folds of the seven subunits and their core residues are well conserved, as well as residues at subunit interfaces. Only 45% of solvent-exposed surface residues are conserved and only 15% are identical across the seven species. Arp residues expected to interact with nucleotide and with the first and second actin subunits in a daughter filament are conserved and similar to actin. Arp residues required to form an Arp dimer differ from actin and may contribute to the dissociated state of the Arps in the unactivated complex. Conserved patches of surface residues guided us to candidate sites for nucleation promoting factors to interact with Arp3, Arp2, and ARPC3. Other conserved residues were used with experimental constraints to propose how residues on the subunits ARPC1, ARPC2, ARPC4 and ARPC5 might interact with the mother filament at branch junctions.

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