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      VASP is a processive actin polymerase that requires monomeric actin for barbed end association

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      The Journal of Cell Biology
      The Rockefeller University Press

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          Abstract

          Visualization of VASP tetramers interacting with static and growing actin filaments in vitro by TIRF microscopy leads to a new model for VASP-mediated actin filament assembly.

          Abstract

          Ena/VASP proteins regulate the actin cytoskeleton during cell migration and morphogenesis and promote assembly of both filopodial and lamellipodial actin networks. To understand the molecular mechanisms underlying their cellular functions we used total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to visualize VASP tetramers interacting with static and growing actin filaments in vitro. We observed multiple filament binding modes: (1) static side binding, (2) side binding with one-dimensional diffusion, and (3) processive barbed end tracking. Actin monomers antagonize side binding but promote high affinity (K d = 9 nM) barbed end attachment. In low ionic strength buffers, VASP tetramers are weakly processive (K off = 0.69 s −1) polymerases that deliver multiple actin monomers per barbed end–binding event and effectively antagonize filament capping. In higher ionic strength buffers, VASP requires profilin for effective polymerase and anti-capping activity. Based on our observations, we propose a mechanism that accounts for all three binding modes and provides a model for how VASP promotes actin filament assembly.

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          Most cited references52

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          Cellular motility driven by assembly and disassembly of actin filaments.

          Motile cells extend a leading edge by assembling a branched network of actin filaments that produces physical force as the polymers grow beneath the plasma membrane. A core set of proteins including actin, Arp2/3 complex, profilin, capping protein, and ADF/cofilin can reconstitute the process in vitro, and mathematical models of the constituent reactions predict the rate of motion. Signaling pathways converging on WASp/Scar proteins regulate the activity of Arp2/3 complex, which mediates the initiation of new filaments as branches on preexisting filaments. After a brief spurt of growth, capping protein terminates the elongation of the filaments. After filaments have aged by hydrolysis of their bound ATP and dissociation of the gamma phosphate, ADF/cofilin proteins promote debranching and depolymerization. Profilin catalyzes the exchange of ADP for ATP, refilling the pool of ATP-actin monomers bound to profilin, ready for elongation.
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            Mechanism of filopodia initiation by reorganization of a dendritic network

            Afilopodium protrudes by elongation of bundled actin filaments in its core. However, the mechanism of filopodia initiation remains unknown. Using live-cell imaging with GFP-tagged proteins and correlative electron microscopy, we performed a kinetic-structural analysis of filopodial initiation in B16F1 melanoma cells. Filopodial bundles arose not by a specific nucleation event, but by reorganization of the lamellipodial dendritic network analogous to fusion of established filopodia but occurring at the level of individual filaments. Subsets of independently nucleated lamellipodial filaments elongated and gradually associated with each other at their barbed ends, leading to formation of cone-shaped structures that we term Λ-precursors. An early marker of initiation was the gradual coalescence of GFP-vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (GFP-VASP) fluorescence at the leading edge into discrete foci. The GFP-VASP foci were associated with Λ-precursors, whereas Arp2/3 was not. Subsequent recruitment of fascin to the clustered barbed ends of Λ-precursors initiated filament bundling and completed formation of the nascent filopodium. We propose a convergent elongation model of filopodia initiation, stipulating that filaments within the lamellipodial dendritic network acquire privileged status by binding a set of molecules (including VASP) to their barbed ends, which protect them from capping and mediate association of barbed ends with each other.
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              Antagonism between Ena/VASP proteins and actin filament capping regulates fibroblast motility.

              Cell motility requires lamellipodial protrusion, a process driven by actin polymerization. Ena/VASP proteins accumulate in protruding lamellipodia and promote the rapid actin-driven motility of the pathogen Listeria. In contrast, Ena/VASP negatively regulate cell translocation. To resolve this paradox, we analyzed the function of Ena/VASP during lamellipodial protrusion. Ena/VASP-deficient lamellipodia protruded slower but more persistently, consistent with their increased cell translocation rates. Actin networks in Ena/VASP-deficient lamellipodia contained shorter, more highly branched filaments compared to controls. Lamellipodia with excess Ena/VASP contained longer, less branched filaments. In vitro, Ena/VASP promoted actin filament elongation by interacting with barbed ends, shielding them from capping protein. We conclude that Ena/VASP regulates cell motility by controlling the geometry of actin filament networks within lamellipodia.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Cell Biol
                J. Cell Biol
                jcb
                The Journal of Cell Biology
                The Rockefeller University Press
                0021-9525
                1540-8140
                1 November 2010
                : 191
                : 3
                : 571-584
                Affiliations
                Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA 94158
                Author notes
                Correspondence to R. Dyche Mullins: dyche@ 123456mullinslab.ucsf.edu
                Article
                201003014
                10.1083/jcb.201003014
                3003327
                21041447
                c1921e0b-3b2a-48e0-ad84-4c6a037352e1
                © 2010 Hansen and Mullins

                This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported license, as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/).

                History
                : 2 March 2010
                : 5 October 2010
                Categories
                Research Articles
                Article

                Cell biology
                Cell biology

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