Actin-bound structures of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)-homology domain 2 and the implications for filament assembly.

Boston Biomedical Research Institute, Watertown, MA 02472, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 12/2005; 102(46):16644-9. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0507021102
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

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    ABSTRACT: Branched actin filament networks in cells are assembled through the combined activities of Arp2/3 complex and different WASP/WAVE proteins. Here, we used TIRF and electron microscopy to directly compare for the first time the assembly kinetics and architectures of actin filament networks produced by Arp2/3 complex and dimerized VCA regions of WAVE1, WAVE2, or N-WASP. WAVE1 produced strikingly different networks from WAVE2 or N-WASP, which were comprised of unexpectedly short filaments. Further analysis showed that the WAVE1-specific activity stemmed from an inhibitory effect on filament elongation both in the presence and absence of Arp2/3 complex, which was observed even at low stoichiometries of WAVE1 to actin monomers precluding an effect from monomer sequestration. Using a series of VCA chimeras, we mapped the elongation inhibitory effects of WAVE1 to its WH2 ('V') domain. Further, mutating a single conserved lysine residue potently disrupted WAVE1's inhibitory effects. Taken together, our results show that WAVE1 has unique activities independent of Arp2/3 complex that can govern both the growth rates and architectures of actin filament networks. Such activities may underlie previously observed differences between the cellular functions of WAVE1 and WAVE2. © 2014 by The American Society for Cell Biology.
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