Identification of the PAK4 interactome reveals PAK4 phosphorylation of N-WASP and promotion of Arp2/3-dependent actin polymerization

Oncotarget. 2017 Aug 18;8(44):77061-77074. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.20352. eCollection 2017 Sep 29.


p21-activated kinase 4 (PAK4) regulates cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell motility and F-actin remodeling, but the PAK4 interactome has not been systematically analyzed. Here, we comprehensively characterized the human PAK4 interactome by iTRAQ quantitative mass spectrometry of PAK4-immunoprecipitations. Consistent with its multiple reported functions, the PAK4 interactome was enriched in diverse protein networks, including the 14-3-3, proteasome, replication fork, CCT and Arp2/3 complexes. Because PAK4 co-immunoprecipitated most subunits of the Arp2/3 complex, we hypothesized that PAK4 may play a role in Arp2/3 dependent actin regulation. Indeed, we found that PAK4 interacts with and phosphorylates the nucleation promoting factor N-WASP at Ser484/Ser485 and promotes Arp2/3-dependent actin polymerization in vitro. Also, PAK4 ablation in vivo reduced N-WASP Ser484/Ser485 phosphorylation and altered the cellular balance between G- and F-actin as well as the actin organization. By presenting the PAK4 interactome, we here provide a powerful resource for further investigations and as proof of principle, we also indicate a novel mechanism by which PAK4 regulates actin cytoskeleton remodeling.

Keywords: VCA domain; actin cytoskeleton; mass spectrometry; p21-activated kinase 4; protein-protein interaction.