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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2013 Sep;20(9):1069-76. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2639. Epub 2013 Aug 4.

Dimeric WH2 domains in Vibrio VopF promote actin filament barbed-end uncapping and assisted elongation.

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Cytoskeleton Dynamics and Motility Group, Laboratoire d'Enzymologie et Biochimie Structurales, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


Proteins containing repeats of the WASP homology 2 (WH2) actin-binding module are multifunctional regulators of actin nucleation and assembly. The bacterial effector VopF in Vibrio cholerae, like VopL in Vibrio parahaemolyticus, is a unique homodimer of three WH2 motifs linked by a C-terminal dimerization domain. We show that only the first and third WH2 domains of VopF bind G-actin in a non-nucleating, sequestered conformation. Moreover, dimeric WH2 domains in VopF give rise to unprecedented regulation of actin assembly. Specifically, two WH2 domains on opposite protomers of VopF direct filament assembly from actin or profilin-actin by binding terminal subunits and uncapping capping protein from barbed ends by a new mechanism. Thus, VopF does not nucleate filaments by capping a pointed-end F-actin hexamer. These properties may contribute to VopF pathogenicity, and they show how dimeric WH2 peptides may mediate processive filament growth.

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