Cells contain multiple F-actin assembly pathways, including the Arp2/3 complex, formins, and Ena/VASP, which have largely been analyzed separately. They collectively generate the bulk of F-actin from a common pool of G-actin; however, the interplay and/or competition between these pathways remains poorly understood. Using fibroblast lines derived from an Arpc2 conditional knockout mouse, we established matched-pair cells with and without the Arp2/3 complex. Arpc2(-/-) cells lack lamellipodia and migrate more slowly than WT cells but have F-actin levels indistinguishable from controls. Actin assembly in Arpc2(-/-) cells was resistant to cytochalasin-D and was highly dependent on profilin-1 and Ena/VASP but not formins. Profilin-1 depletion in WT cells increased F-actin and Arp2/3 complex in lamellipodia. Conversely, addition of exogenous profilin-1 inhibited Arp2/3 complex actin nucleation in vitro and in vivo. Antagonism of the Arp2/3 complex by profilin-1 in cells appears to maintain actin homeostasis by balancing Arp2/3 complex-dependent and -independent actin assembly pathways.
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