Elucidating Key Motifs Required for Arp2/3-Dependent and Independent Actin Nucleation by Las17/WASP

Ellen G. Allwood, Joe J. Tyler, Agnieszka N. Urbanek, Iwona I. Smaczynska-de Rooij, Kathryn R. Ayscough

2016 vol: 11 issue: 9 pp: e0163177 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163177


Actin nucleation is the key rate limiting step in the process of actin polymerization, and tight regulation of this process is critical to ensure actin filaments form only at specific times and at defined regions of the cell. Arp2/3 is a well-characterised protein complex that can promote nucleation of new filaments, though its activity requires additional nucleation promotion factors (NPFs). The best recognized of these factors are the WASP family of proteins that contain binding motifs for both monomeric actin and for Arp2/3. Previously we demonstrated that the yeast WASP homologue, Las17, in addition to activating Arp2/3 can also nucleate actin filaments de novo, independently of Arp2/3. This activity is dependent on its polyproline rich region. Through biochemical and in vivo analysis we have now identified key motifs within the polyproline region that are required for nucleation and elongation of actin filaments, and have addressed the role of the WH2 domain in the context of actin nucleation without Arp2/3. We have also demonstrated that full length Las17 is able to bind liposomes giving rise to the possibility of direct linkage of nascent actin filaments to specific membrane sites to which Las17 has been recruited. Overall, we propose that Las17 functions as the key initiator of de novo actin filament formation at endocytic sites by nucleating, elongating and tethering nascent filaments which then serve as a platform for Arp2/3 recruitment and function.

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Topics: Nucleation, Proline, Actins, Actin polymerization, Yeast, Actin filaments, Polymerization, Nuclear actin filaments, Monolith – MicroScale Thermophoresis, MST, Proteins, Publications