Systematic name M7825
Brief description Y branching of actin filaments
Full description or abstract Mammalian cell motility requires actin polymerization in the direction of movement to change membrane shape and extend cytoplasm into lamellipodia. The polymerization of actin to drive cell movement also involves branching of actin filaments into a network oriented with the growing ends of the fibers near the cell membrane. Manipulation of this process helps bacteria like Salmonella gain entry into cells they infect. Two of the proteins involved in the formation of Y branches and in cell motility are Arp2 and Arp3, both members of a large multiprotein complex containing several other polypeptides as well. The Arp2/3 complex is localized at the Y branch junction and induces actin polymerization. Activity of this complex is regulated by multiple different cell surface receptor signaling systems, activating WASP, and Arp2/3 in turn to cause changes in cell shape and cell motility. Wasp and its cousin Wave-1 interact with the Arp2/3 complex through the p21 component of the complex. The crystal structure of the Arp2/3 complex has revealed further insights into the nature of how the complex works. Activation by Wave-1, another member of the WASP family, also induces actin alterations in response to Rac1 signals upstream. Wave-1 is held in an inactive complex in the cytosol that is activated to allow Wave-1 to associate with Arp2/3. While WASP is activated by interaction with Cdc42, Wave-1, is activated by interaction with Rac1 and Nck. Wave-1 activation by Rac1 and Nck releases Wave-1 with Hspc300 to activate actin Y branching and polymerization by Arp2/3. Different members of this gene family may produce different actin cytoskeletal architectures. The immunological defects associated with mutation of the WASP gene, the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome for which WASP was named, indicates the importance of this system for normal cellular function.
Collection C2: curated gene sets
      CP: canonical pathways
            CP:BIOCARTA: BioCarta gene sets
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Organism Homo sapiens
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Version history 7.0: Changed members. Upgraded to final version of Biocarta.

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