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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Feb 10;340(2):709-17. Epub 2005 Dec 20.

Caenorhabditis elegans WASP-interacting protein homologue WIP-1 is involved in morphogenesis through maintenance of WSP-1 protein levels.

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Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Mammalian WASP and N-WASP are involved in reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton through activation of the Arp2/3 complex and in regulation of cell motility or cell shape changes. In the present study, we identified WASP-interacting protein homologue (WIP)-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans. WIP-1 contains the domains and sequences conserved among mammalian WIP family proteins. Yeast two-hybrid analysis detected a physical interaction between WIP-1 and WSP-1, the sole homologue of WASP/N-WASP in C. elegans. Western analysis of embryo lysates showed that RNA interference (RNAi) treatment for wip-1 decreased levels of WSP-1 protein, and wsp-1(RNAi) treatment decreased levels of WIP-1 protein. However, wsp-1 mRNA levels were not decreased in wip-1(RNAi)-treated embryos, and wip-1 mRNA levels were not decreased in wsp-1(RNAi)-treated embryos. Furthermore, disruption of WIP-1 by RNAi resulted in embryonic lethality with morphologic defects in hypodermal cell migration, a process known as ventral enclosure. This phenotype was similar to that observed in RNAi experiments for wsp-1. Immunostaining showed that WIP-1 was expressed by migrating hypodermal cells, as was WSP-1. This expression during ventral enclosure was reduced in wip-1(RNAi)-treated embryos and wsp-1(RNAi)-treated embryos. Our results suggest that C. elegans WIP-1 may function in hypodermal cell migration during ventral enclosure by maintaining levels of WSP-1.

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