CR16 forms a complex with N-WASP in brain and is a novel member of a conserved proline-rich actin-binding protein family.
ABSTRACT: The Neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) has emerged as a central regulator of the actin cytoskeleton with abilities to integrate multiple upstream signal inputs and transmit them to the Arp2/3 complex. Here, we demonstrate that native N-WASP is present in a tight complex with a proline-rich protein, CR16, which shares approximately 25% identity with WASP interacting protein. CR16 is encoded by a gene previously cloned as a glucocorticoid-regulated mRNA from a rat hippocampal cDNA library. Although N-WASP is expressed ubiquitously, full-length CR16 protein is found predominately in the brain. CR16 and N-WASP colocalize in primary hippocampal neurons and at the tips of their growth cone filopodia. In vitro, CR16 directly binds both monomeric and filamentous actin but does not affect the kinetics of actin polymerization mediated by N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex. Sequence homologues of CR16 are found not only in other vertebrates but also in the invertebrate Caenorhabditis elegans and in yeast. Thus, CR16 and WASP interacting protein belong to a family of N-WASP-binding proteins.
Project description:We identified a novel adaptor protein that contains a Src homology (SH)3 domain, SH3 binding proline-rich sequences, and a leucine zipper-like motif and termed this protein WASP interacting SH3 protein (WISH). WISH is expressed predominantly in neural tissues and testis. It bound Ash/Grb2 through its proline-rich regions and neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) through its SH3 domain. WISH strongly enhanced N-WASP-induced Arp2/3 complex activation independent of Cdc42 in vitro, resulting in rapid actin polymerization. Furthermore, coexpression of WISH and N-WASP induced marked formation of microspikes in Cos7 cells, even in the absence of stimuli. An N-WASP mutant (H208D) that cannot bind Cdc42 still induced microspike formation when coexpressed with WISH. We also examined the contribution of WISH to a rapid actin polymerization induced by brain extract in vitro. Arp2/3 complex was essential for brain extract-induced rapid actin polymerization. Addition of WISH to extracts increased actin polymerization as Cdc42 did. However, WISH unexpectedly could activate actin polymerization even in N-WASP-depleted extracts. These findings suggest that WISH activates Arp2/3 complex through N-WASP-dependent and -independent pathways without Cdc42, resulting in the rapid actin polymerization required for microspike formation.
Project description:Actin related protein 2/actin related protein 3 (Arp2/3) complex nucleates new actin filaments in eukaryotic cells in response to signals from proteins in the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family. The conserved VCA domain of WASP proteins activates Arp2/3 complex by inducing conformational changes and delivering the first actin monomer of the daughter filament. Previous models of activation have invoked a single VCA acting at a single site on Arp2/3 complex. Here we show that activation most likely involves engagement of two distinct sites on Arp2/3 complex by two VCA molecules, each delivering an actin monomer. One site is on Arp3 and the second is on ARPC1 and Arp2. The VCAs at these sites have distinct roles in activation. Our findings reconcile apparently conflicting literature on VCA activation of Arp2/3 complex and lead to a new model for this process.
Project description:Members of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family control actin dynamics in eukaryotic cells by stimulating the actin nucleating activity of the Arp2/3 complex. The prevailing paradigm for WASP regulation invokes allosteric relief of autoinhibition by diverse upstream activators. Here we demonstrate an additional level of regulation that is superimposed upon allostery: dimerization increases the affinity of active WASP species for Arp2/3 complex by up to 180-fold, greatly enhancing actin assembly by this system. This finding explains a large and apparently disparate set of observations under a common mechanistic framework. These include WASP activation by the bacterial effector EspFu and a large number of SH3 domain proteins, the effects on WASP of membrane localization/clustering and assembly into large complexes, and cooperativity between different family members. Allostery and dimerization act in hierarchical fashion, enabling WASP/WAVE proteins to integrate different classes of inputs to produce a wide range of cellular actin responses.
Project description:Changes in the number, size, and shape of dendritic spines are associated with synaptic plasticity, which underlies cognitive functions such as learning and memory. This plasticity is attributed to reorganization of actin, but the molecular signals that regulate this process are poorly understood. In this study, we show neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) regulates the formation of dendritic spines and synapses in hippocampal neurons. N-WASP localized to spines and active, functional synapses as shown by loading with FM4-64 dye. Knock down of endogenous N-WASP expression by RNA interference or inhibition of its activity by treatment with a specific inhibitor, wiskostatin, caused a significant decrease in the number of spines and excitatory synapses. Deletion of the C-terminal VCA region of N-WASP, which binds and activates the actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex, dramatically decreased the number of spines and synapses, suggesting activation of the Arp2/3 complex is critical for spine and synapse formation. Consistent with this, Arp3, like N-WASP, was enriched in spines and excitatory synapses and knock down of Arp3 expression impaired spine and synapse formation. A similar defect in spine and synapse formation was observed when expression of an N-WASP activator, Cdc42, was knocked down. Thus, activation of N-WASP and, subsequently, the Arp2/3 complex appears to be an important molecular signal for regulating spines and synapses. Arp2/3-mediated branching of actin could be a mechanism by which dendritic spine heads enlarge and subsequently mature. Collectively, our results point to a critical role for N-WASP and the Arp2/3 complex in spine and synapse formation.
Project description:The proteins of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family are activators of the ubiquitous actin nucleation factor, the Arp2/3 complex. WASP family proteins contain a C-terminal VCA domain that binds and activates the Arp2/3 complex in response to numerous inputs, including Rho family GTPases, phosphoinositide lipids, SH3 domain-containing proteins, kinases, and phosphatases. In the archetypal members of the family, WASP and N-WASP, these signals are integrated through two levels of regulation, an allosteric autoinhibitory interaction, in which the VCA is sequestered from the Arp2/3 complex, and dimerization/oligomerization, in which multi-VCA complexes are better activators of the Arp2/3 complex than monomers. Here, we review the structural, biochemical, and biophysical details of these mechanisms and illustrate how they work together to control WASP activity in response to multiple inputs. These regulatory principles, derived from studies of WASP and N-WASP, are likely to apply broadly across the family.
Project description:When activated by Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome proteins (WASP), Arp2/3 complex nucleates branched actin filaments important for processes like cellular motility and endocytosis . WASP-mediated activation of Arp2/3 complex requires a preformed actin filament, ensuring that activation by WASP creates branched instead of linear filaments. However, this biochemical requirement also means that assembly of branched actin networks must be primed with an initial seed filament [2-4]. We recently described a class of activators called WISH/DIP/SPIN90 (WDS) proteins, which, unlike WASP, activate Arp2/3 complex without a preformed filament . Although this property may allow WDS proteins to serve as seed filament generators, it is unknown whether actin filaments nucleated by WDS-activated Arp2/3 complex can activate WASP-bound Arp2/3 complex. Further, despite their potential importance as branched actin network initiators, little is known about how WDS proteins turn on Arp2/3 complex. Here, we use two-color single-molecule total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy to show that Dip1, the S. pombe WDS protein , co-opts features of branching nucleation to activate Arp2/3 complex. Specifically, it activates Arp2/3 complex to nucleate linear filaments analogous to the branch created by WASP-mediated activation. The barbed ends of Dip1-Arp2/3 nucleated filaments are free to elongate, and their pointed ends remain anchored to Dip1-bound Arp2/3 complex. The linear filaments nucleated by Dip1-bound Arp2/3 complex activate WASP-bound Arp2/3 complex as potently as spontaneously nucleated or branched actin filaments. These observations provide important insights into the regulation of Arp2/3 complex by its activators and the molecular basis for initiation of branched actin networks.
Project description:Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)-homology domain 2 (WH2) is a small and widespread actin-binding motif. In the WASP family, WH2 plays a role in filament nucleation by Arp2/3 complex. Here we describe the crystal structures of complexes of actin with the WH2 domains of WASP, WASP-family verprolin homologous protein, and WASP-interacting protein. Despite low sequence identity, WH2 shares structural similarity with the N-terminal portion of the actin monomer-sequestering thymosin beta domain (Tbeta). We show that both domains inhibit nucleotide exchange by targeting the cleft between actin subdomains 1 and 3, a common binding site for many unrelated actin-binding proteins. Importantly, WH2 is significantly shorter than Tbeta but binds actin with approximately 10-fold higher affinity. WH2 lacks a C-terminal extension that in Tbeta4 becomes involved in monomer sequestration by interfering with intersubunit contacts in F-actin. Owing to their shorter length, WH2 domains connected in tandem by short linkers can coexist with intersubunit contacts in F-actin and are proposed to function in filament nucleation by lining up actin subunits along a filament strand. The WH2-central region of WASP-family proteins is proposed to function in an analogous way by forming a special class of tandem repeats whose function is to line up actin and Arp2 during Arp2/3 nucleation. The structures also suggest a mechanism for how profilin-binding Pro-rich sequences positioned N-terminal to WH2 could feed actin monomers directly to WH2, thereby playing a role in filament elongation.
Project description:Extended Fer-CIP4 homology (EFC)/FCH-BAR (F-BAR) domains generate and bind to tubular membrane structures of defined diameters that are involved in the formation and fission of endocytotic vesicles. Formin-binding protein 17 (FBP17) and Toca-1 contain EFC/F-BAR domains and bind to neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP), which links phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP(2)) and the Rho family GTPase Cdc42 to the Arp2/3 complex. The N-WASP-WASP-interacting protein (WIP) complex, a predominant form of N-WASP in cells, is known to be activated by Toca-1 and Cdc42. Here, we show that N-WASP-WIP complex-mediated actin polymerization is activated by phosphatidylserine-containing membranes depending on membrane curvature in the presence of Toca-1 or FBP17 and in the absence of Cdc42 and PIP(2). Cdc42 further promoted the activation of actin polymerization by N-WASP-WIP. Toca-1 or FBP17 recruited N-WASP-WIP to the membrane. Conserved acidic residues near the SH3 domain of Toca-1 and FBP17 positioned the N-WASP-WIP to be spatially close to the membrane for activation of actin polymerization. Therefore, curvature-dependent actin polymerization is stimulated by spatially appropriate interactions of EFC/F-BAR proteins and the N-WASP-WIP complex with the membrane.
Project description:The assembly of a branched network of actin filaments provides the mechanical propulsion that drives a range of dynamic cellular processes, including cell motility. The Arp2/3 complex is a crucial component of such filament networks. Arp2/3 nucleates new actin filaments while bound to existing filaments, thus creating a branched network. In recent years, a number of proteins that activate the filament nucleation activity of Arp2/3 have been identified, most notably the WASP (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein) family. WASP-family proteins activate the Arp2/3 complex, and consequently stimulate actin assembly, in response to extracellular signals. Structural studies have provided a significant refinement in our understanding of the molecular detail of how the Arp2/3 complex nucleates actin filaments. There has also been much progress towards an understanding of the complicated signalling processes that regulate WASP-family proteins. In addition, the use of gene disruption in a number of organisms has led to new insights into the specific functions of individual WASP-family members. The present review will discuss the Arp2/3 complex and its regulators, in particular the WASP-family proteins. Emphasis will be placed on recent developments in the field that have furthered our understanding of actin dynamics and cell motility.
Project description:General methods to engineer genetically encoded, reversible, light-mediated control over protein function would be useful in many areas of biomedical research and technology. We describe a system that yields such photo-control over actin assembly. We fused the Rho family GTPase Cdc42 in its GDP-bound form to the photosensory domain of phytochrome B (PhyB) and fused the Cdc42 effector, the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein (WASP), to the light-dependent PhyB-binding domain of phytochrome interacting factor 3 (Pif3). Upon red light illumination, the fusion proteins bind each other, activating WASP, and consequently stimulating actin assembly by the WASP target, the Arp2/3 complex. Binding and WASP activation are reversed by far-red illumination. Our approach, in which the biochemical specificity of the nucleotide switch in Cdc42 is overridden by the light-dependent PhyB-Pif3 interaction, should be generally applicable to other GTPase-effector pairs.