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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Dec;22(23):4563-74. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-06-0585. Epub 2011 Sep 30.

The actin nucleation factor JMY is a negative regulator of neuritogenesis.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Junction-mediating and regulatory protein (JMY) is a p53 cofactor that was recently shown to nucleate actin assembly by a hybrid mechanism involving tandem actin monomer binding and Arp2/3 complex activation. However, the regulation and function of JMY remain largely uncharacterized. We examined the activity of JMY in vitro and in cells, its subcellular distribution, and its function in fibroblast and neuronal cell lines. We demonstrated that recombinant full-length JMY and its isolated WASP homology 2 domain, connector, and acidic region (WWWCA) have potent actin-nucleating and Arp2/3-activating abilities in vitro. In contrast, the activity of full-length JMY, but not the isolated WWWCA domain, is suppressed in cells. The WWWCA domain is sufficient to promote actin-based bead motility in cytoplasmic extracts, and this activity depends on its ability to activate the Arp2/3 complex. JMY is expressed at high levels in brain tissue, and in various cell lines JMY is predominantly cytoplasmic, with a minor fraction in the nucleus. Of interest, silencing JMY expression in neuronal cells results in a significant enhancement of the ability of these cells to form neurites, suggesting that JMY functions to suppress neurite formation. This function of JMY requires its actin-nucleating activity. These findings highlight a previously unrecognized function for JMY as a modulator of neuritogenesis.

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