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J Cell Biol. 2007 Mar 26;176(7):953-64. Epub 2007 Mar 19.

Missing-in-metastasis and IRSp53 deform PI(4,5)P2-rich membranes by an inverse BAR domain-like mechanism.

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Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland.


The actin cytoskeleton plays a fundamental role in various motile and morphogenetic processes involving membrane dynamics. We show that actin-binding proteins MIM (missing-in-metastasis) and IRSp53 directly bind PI(4,5)P(2)-rich membranes and deform them into tubular structures. This activity resides in the N-terminal IRSp53/MIM domain (IMD) of these proteins, which is structurally related to membrane-tubulating BAR (Bin/amphiphysin/Rvs) domains. We found that because of a difference in the geometry of the PI(4,5)P(2)-binding site, IMDs induce a membrane curvature opposite that of BAR domains and deform membranes by binding to the interior of the tubule. This explains why IMD proteins induce plasma membrane protrusions rather than invaginations. We also provide evidence that the membrane-deforming activity of IMDs, instead of the previously proposed F-actin-bundling or GTPase-binding activities, is critical for the induction of the filopodia/microspikes in cultured mammalian cells. Together, these data reveal that interplay between actin dynamics and a novel membrane-deformation activity promotes cell motility and morphogenesis.

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