WASP Family Proteins: Their Evolution and Its Physiological Implications

Veltman, D.M. and Insall, R. H. (2010) WASP Family Proteins: Their Evolution and Its Physiological Implications. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 21(16), pp. 2880-2893. (doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-04-0372)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1091/mbc.E10-04-0372


WASP family proteins control actin polymerization by activating the Arp2/3 complex. Several subfamilies exist, but their regulation and physiological roles are not well understood, nor is it even known if all subfamilies have been identified. Our extensive search reveals few novel WASP family proteins. The WASP, WASH, and SCAR/WAVE subfamilies are evolutionarily ancient, with WASH the most universally present, whereas WHAMM/JMY first appears in invertebrates. An unusual Dictyostelium WASP homologue that has lost the WH1 domain has retained its function in clathrin-mediated endocytosis, demonstrating that WASPs can function with a remarkably diverse domain topology. The WASH and SCAR/WAVE regulatory complexes are much more rigidly maintained; their domain topology is highly conserved, and all subunits are present or lost together, showing that the complexes are ancient and functionally interdependent. Finally, each subfamily has a distinctive C motif, indicating that this motif plays a specific role in each subfamily's function, unlike the generic V and A motifs. Our analysis identifies which features are universally conserved, and thus essential, and which are branch-specific modifications. It also shows the WASP family is more widespread and diverse than currently appreciated and unexpectedly biases the physiological role of the Arp2/3 complex toward vesicle traffic.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Insall, Professor Robert
Authors: Veltman, D.M., and Insall, R. H.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Molecular Biology of the Cell

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