Nck and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate synergistically activate actin polymerization through the N-WASP-Arp2/3 pathway

J Biol Chem. 2001 Jul 13;276(28):26448-52. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M103856200. Epub 2001 May 4.


The Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) and its relative neural WASP (N-WASP) regulate the nucleation of actin filaments through their interaction with the Arp2/3 complex and are regulated in turn by binding to GTP-bound Cdc42 and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. The Nck Src homology (SH) 2/3 adaptor binds via its SH3 domains to a proline-rich region on WASP and N-WASP and has been implicated in recruitment of these proteins to sites of tyrosine phosphorylation. We show here that Nck SH3 domains dramatically stimulate the rate of nucleation of actin filaments by purified N-WASP in the presence of Arp2/3 in vitro. All three Nck SH3 domains are required for maximal activation. Nck-stimulated actin nucleation by N-WASP.Arp2/3 complexes is further stimulated by phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, but not by GTP-Cdc42, suggesting that Nck and Cdc42 activate N-WASP by redundant mechanisms. These results suggest the existence of an Nck-dependent, Cdc42-independent mechanism to induce actin polymerization at tyrosine-phosphorylated Nck binding sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Actin-Related Protein 2
  • Actin-Related Protein 3
  • Actins / chemistry*
  • Actins / drug effects
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins*
  • Dimerization
  • Drug Synergism
  • Escherichia coli
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins / chemistry*
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Oncogene Proteins / pharmacology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate / chemistry*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein, Neuronal


  • Actin-Related Protein 2
  • Actin-Related Protein 3
  • Actins
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Nck protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Diphosphate
  • Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein, Neuronal