Arp2/3 complex mediates the nucleation of actin filaments in multiple subcellular processes, and is activated by nucleation-promoting factors (NPFs) from the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome family. In exciting new developments, this family has grown by three members: WASH, WHAMM and JMY, which extend the repertoire of dynamic membrane structures that are remodeled following Arp2/3 activation in vivo. These novel NPFs share an actin- and Arp2/3-interacting WCA module, and combine Arp2/3 activation with additional biochemical functions, including capping protein inhibition, microtubule engagement or Arp2/3-independent actin nucleation, none of which had been previously associated with canonical WCA-harboring proteins. Uncovering the physiological relevance of these unique activities will require concerted efforts from multiple disciplines, and is sure to impact our understanding of how the cytoskeleton controls so many dynamic subcellular events.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.