• The Arp2/3 complex is critical for colonisation of the mouse skin by melanoblasts.

      Papalazarou, Vassilis; Swaminathan, Karthic; Jaber-Hijazi, Farah; Spence, Heather; Lahmann, Ines; Nixon, Colin; Salmeron-Sanchez, Manuel; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Rottner, Klemens; Machesky, Laura M; et al. (Company of Biologists, 2020-10-07)
      The Arp2/3 complex is essential for the assembly of branched filamentous actin but its role in physiology and development is surprisingly little understood. Melanoblasts deriving from the neural crest migrate along the developing embryo and traverse the dermis to reach the epidermis colonising the skin and eventually homing within the hair follicles. We have previously established that Rac1 and Cdc42 direct melanoblast migration in vivo We hypothesised that the Arp2/3 complex might be the main downstream effector of these small GTPases. Arp3 depletion in the melanocyte lineage results in severe pigmentation defects in dorsal and ventral regions of the mouse skin. Arp3 null melanoblasts demonstrate proliferation and migration defects and fail to elongate as their wild-type counterparts. Conditional deletion of Arp3 in primary melanocytes causes improper proliferation, spreading, migration and adhesion to extracellular matrix. Collectively, our results suggest that the Arp2/3 complex is absolutely indispensable in the melanocyte lineage in mouse development, and indicate a significant role in developmental processes that require tight regulation of actin-mediated motility.
    • Molecular Dissection of Neurodevelopmental Disorder-Causing Mutations in CYFIP2.

      Schaks, Matthias; Reinke, Michael; Witke, Walter; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-05-29)
      Actin remodeling is frequently regulated by antagonistic activities driving protrusion and contraction downstream of Rac and Rho small GTPases, respectively. WAVE regulatory complex (WRC), which primarily operates downstream of Rac, plays pivotal roles in neuronal morphogenesis. Recently, two independent studies described de novo mutations in the CYFIP2 subunit of WRC, which caused intellectual disability (ID) in humans. Although mutations had been proposed to effect WRC activation, no experimental evidence for this was provided. Here, we made use of CRISPR/Cas9-engineered B16-F1 cell lines that were reconstituted with ID-causing CYFIP variants in different experimental contexts. Almost all CYFIP2-derived mutations (7 out of 8) promoted WRC activation, but to variable extent and with at least two independent mechanisms. The majority of mutations occurs in a conserved WAVE-binding region, required for WRC transinhibition. One mutation is positioned closely adjacent to the Rac-binding A site and appears to ease Rac-mediated WRC activation. As opposed to these gain-of-function mutations, a truncating mutant represented a loss-of-function variant and failed to interact with WRC components. Collectively, our data show that explored CYFIP2 mutations frequently, but not always, coincide with WRC activation and suggest that normal brain development requires a delicate and precisely tuned balance of neuronal WRC activity.