• Filopodia formation in the absence of functional WAVE- and Arp2/3-complexes.

      Steffen, Anika; Faix, Jan; Resch, Guenter P; Linkner, Joern; Wehland, Juergen; Small, J Victor; Rottner, Klemens; Stradal, Theresia E B (2006-06-01)
      Cell migration is initiated by plasma membrane protrusions, in the form of lamellipodia and filopodia. The latter rod-like projections may exert sensory functions and are found in organisms as distant in evolution as mammals and amoeba such as Dictyostelium discoideum. In mammals, lamellipodia protrusion downstream of the small GTPase Rac1 requires a multimeric protein assembly, the WAVE-complex, which activates Arp2/3-mediated actin filament nucleation and actin network assembly. A current model of filopodia formation postulates that these structures arise from a dendritic network of lamellipodial actin filaments by selective elongation and bundling. Here, we have analyzed filopodia formation in mammalian cells abrogated in expression of essential components of the lamellipodial actin polymerization machinery. Cells depleted of the WAVE-complex component Nck-associated protein 1 (Nap1), and, in consequence, of lamellipodia, exhibited normal filopodia protrusion. Likewise, the Arp2/3-complex, which is essential for lamellipodia protrusion, is dispensable for filopodia formation. Moreover, genetic disruption of nap1 or the WAVE-orthologue suppressor of cAMP receptor (scar) in Dictyostelium was also ineffective in preventing filopodia protrusion. These data suggest that the molecular mechanism of filopodia formation is conserved throughout evolution from Dictyostelium to mammals and show that lamellipodia and filopodia formation are functionally separable.
    • High-resolution X-ray structure of the trimeric Scar/WAVE-complex precursor Brk1.

      Linkner, Joern; Witte, Gregor; Stradal, Theresia; Curth, Ute; Faix, Jan; Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2011)
      The Scar/WAVE-complex links upstream Rho-GTPase signaling to the activation of the conserved Arp2/3-complex. Scar/WAVE-induced and Arp2/3-complex-mediated actin nucleation is crucial for actin assembly in protruding lamellipodia to drive cell migration. The heteropentameric Scar/WAVE-complex is composed of Scar/WAVE, Abi, Nap, Pir and a small polypeptide Brk1/HSPC300, and recent work suggested that free Brk1 serves as a homooligomeric precursor in the assembly of this complex. Here we characterized the Brk1 trimer from Dictyostelium by analytical ultracentrifugation and gelfiltration. We show for the first time its dissociation at concentrations in the nanomolar range as well as an exchange of subunits within different DdBrk1 containing complexes. Moreover, we determined the three-dimensional structure of DdBrk1 at 1.5 Å resolution by X-ray crystallography. Three chains of DdBrk1 are associated with each other forming a parallel triple coiled-coil bundle. Notably, this structure is highly similar to the heterotrimeric α-helical bundle of HSPC300/WAVE1/Abi2 within the human Scar/WAVE-complex. This finding, together with the fact that Brk1 is collectively sandwiched by the remaining subunits and also constitutes the main subunit connecting the triple-coil domain of the HSPC300/WAVE1/Abi2/ heterotrimer to Sra1(Pir1), implies a critical function of this subunit in the assembly process of the entire Scar/WAVE-complex.