Scapinin, the protein phosphatase 1 binding protein, enhances cell spreading and motility by interacting with the actin cytoskeleton

PLoS One. 2009;4(1):e4247. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004247. Epub 2009 Jan 22.


Scapinin, also named phactr3, is an actin and protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) binding protein, which is expressed in the adult brain and some tumor cells. At present, the role(s) of scapinin in the brain and tumors are poorly understood. We show that the RPEL-repeat domain of scapinin, which is responsible for its direct interaction with actin, inhibits actin polymerization in vitro. Next, we established a Hela cell line, where scapinin expression was induced by tetracycline. In these cells, expression of scapinin stimulated cell spreading and motility. Scapinin was colocalized with actin at the edge of spreading cells. To explore the roles of the RPEL-repeat and PP1-binding domains, we expressed wild-type and mutant scapinins as fusion proteins with green fluorescence protein (GFP) in Cos7 cells. Expression of GFP-scapinin (wild type) also stimulated cell spreading, but mutation in the RPEL-repeat domain abolished both the actin binding and the cell spreading activity. PP1-binding deficient mutants strongly induced cell retraction. Long and branched cytoplasmic processes were developed during the cell retraction. These results suggest that scapinin enhances cell spreading and motility through direct interaction with actin and that PP1 plays a regulatory role in scapinin-induced morphological changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Movement
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry*
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Actins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PHACTR3 protein, human
  • Protein Phosphatase 1