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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998 Mar;30(3):307-11.

The focal adhesion phosphoprotein, VASP.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Leicester, U.K.


Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is associated with focal adhesions and areas of dynamic membrane activity, where it is thought to have an important role in actin filament assembly and cell motility. VASP contains a central proline-rich sequence which recruits the G-actin binding protein profilin. Localization of VASP to the leading edge of a migrating cell can lead to local accumulation of profilin, which in turn can supply actin monomers to growing filament ends. VASP binds to the focal adhesion proteins vinculin and zyxin and this probably directs the phosphoprotein to focal adhesions and the leading edge of stimulated cells. VASP functions as a binding intermediate between profilin and focal adhesion proteins. Intracellular pathogens, including Listeria monocytogenes, have coat proteins which bind VASP. This is one way in which these pathogens use VASP, and other proteins from the host cell, to assemble the actin filaments they require to move around the cytoplasm of infected cells and enter neighbouring cells. Understanding the role of VASP and other proteins in cell and bacterial motility is likely to lead to development of new therapeutic strategies for diseases including atherosclerosis and tumour growth, and for limiting the spread of intracellular pathogens.

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