• Free Brick1 is a trimeric precursor in the assembly of a functional wave complex.

      Derivery, Emmanuel; Fink, Jenny; Martin, Davy; Houdusse, Anne; Piel, Matthieu; Stradal, Theresia E; Louvard, Daniel; Gautreau, Alexis; Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Morphogenesis and Cell Signaling laboratory, Paris, France. (2008)
      BACKGROUND: The Wave complex activates the Arp2/3 complex, inducing actin polymerization in lamellipodia and membrane ruffles. The Wave complex is composed of five subunits, the smallest of which, Brick1/Hspc300 (Brk1), is the least characterized. We previously reported that, unlike the other subunits, Brk1 also exists as a free form. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here we report that this free form of Brk1 is composed of homotrimers. Using a novel assay in which purified free Brk1 is electroporated into HeLa cells, we were able to follow its biochemical fate in cells and to show that free Brk1 becomes incorporated into the Wave complex. Importantly, incorporation of free Brk1 into the Wave complex was blocked upon inhibition of protein synthesis and incorporated Brk1 was found to associate preferentially with neosynthesized subunits. Brk1 depleted HeLa cells were found to bleb, as were Nap1, Wave2 or ARPC2 depleted cells, suggesting that this blebbing phenotype of Brk1 depleted cells is due to an impairment of the Wave complex function rather than a specific function of free Brk1. Blebs of Brk1 depleted cells were emitted at sites where lamellipodia and membrane ruffles were normally emitted. In Brk1 depleted cells, the electroporation of free Brk1 was sufficient to restore Wave complex assembly and to rescue the blebbing phenotype. CONCLUSION: Together these results establish that the free form of Brk1 is an essential precursor in the assembly of a functional Wave complex.
    • Rac1 regulates neuronal polarization through the WAVE complex.

      Tahirovic, Sabina; Hellal, Farida; Neukirchen, Dorothee; Hindges, Robert; Garvalov, Boyan K; Flynn, Kevin C; Stradal, Theresia E; Chrostek-Grashoff, Anna; Brakebusch, Cord; Bradke, Frank; et al. (2010-05-19)
      Neuronal migration and axon growth, key events during neuronal development, require distinct changes in the cytoskeleton. Although many molecular regulators of polarity have been identified and characterized, relatively little is known about their physiological role in this process. To study the physiological function of Rac1 in neuronal development, we have generated a conditional knock-out mouse, in which Rac1 is ablated in the whole brain. Rac1-deficient cerebellar granule neurons, which do not express other Rac isoforms, showed impaired neuronal migration and axon formation both in vivo and in vitro. In addition, Rac1 ablation disrupts lamellipodia formation in growth cones. The analysis of Rac1 effectors revealed the absence of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family verprolin-homologous protein (WAVE) complex from the plasma membrane of knock-out growth cones. Loss of WAVE function inhibited axon growth, whereas overexpression of a membrane-tethered WAVE mutant partially rescued axon growth in Rac1-knock-out neurons. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of the WAVE complex effector Arp2/3 also reduced axon growth. We propose that Rac1 recruits the WAVE complex to the plasma membrane to enable actin remodeling necessary for axon growth.