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J Cell Sci. 2008 Feb 1;121(Pt 3):379-90. doi: 10.1242/jcs.010272. Epub 2008 Jan 15.

Membrane targeting of WAVE2 is not sufficient for WAVE2-dependent actin polymerization: a role for IRSp53 in mediating the interaction between Rac and WAVE2.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)-family verprolin homologous (WAVE) proteins play a major role in Rac-induced actin dynamics, but Rac does not bind directly to WAVE proteins. It has been proposed that either the insulin receptor substrate protein 53 (IRSp53) or a complex of proteins containing Abelson interactor protein 1 (Abi1) mediates the interaction of WAVE2 and Rac. Depletion of endogenous IRSp53 by RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) in a RAW/LR5 macrophage cell line resulted in a significant reduction of Rac1Q61L-induced surface ruffles and colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1)-induced actin polymerization, protrusion and cell migration. However, IRSp53 was not essential for Fcgamma-R-mediated phagocytosis, formation of podosomes or for formation of Cdc42V12-induced filopodia. IRSp53 was found to be present in an immunoprecipitable complex with WAVE2 and Abi1 in a Rac1-activation-dependent manner in RAW/LR5 cells in vivo. Importantly, reduction of endogenous IRSp53 or expression of IRSp53 lacking the WAVE2-binding site (IRSp53DeltaSH3) resulted in a significant reduction in the association of Rac1 with WAVE2 and Abi1, indicating that the association of Rac1 with WAVE2 and Abi1 is IRSp53 dependent. While it has been proposed that WAVE2 activity is regulated by membrane recruitment, membrane targeting of WAVE2 in RAW/LR5 and Cos-7 cells did not induce actin polymerization or protrusion, suggesting that membrane recruitment was insufficient for regulation of WAVE2. Combined, these data suggest that IRSp53 links Rac1 to WAVE2 in vivo and its function is crucial for production of CSF-1-induced F-actin-rich protrusions and cell migration in macrophages. This study indicates that Rac1, along with IRSp53 and Abi1, is involved in a more complex and tight regulation of WAVE2 than one operating solely through membrane localization.

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