The Journal of biological chemistry

Phosphorylation of tyrosine 291 enhances the ability of WASp to stimulate actin polymerization and filopodium formation. Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein.

PMID 12235133


Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein (WASp) is a key regulator of the Arp2/3 complex and the actin cytoskeleton in hematopoietic cells. WASp is capable of forming an auto-inhibited conformation, which can be disrupted by binding of Cdc42 and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate, leading to its activation. Stimulation of the collagen receptor on platelets and crosslinking the B-cell receptor induce tyrosine phosphorylation of WASp. Here we show that the Src family kinase Hck induces phosphorylation of WASp-Tyr(291) independently of Cdc42 and that this causes a shift in the mobility of WASp upon SDS-PAGE. A phospho-mimicking mutant, WASp-Y291E, exhibited an enhanced ability to stimulate actin polymerization in a cell-free system and when microinjected into primary macrophages induced extensive filopodium formation with greater efficiency than wild-type WASp or a Y291F mutant. We propose that phosphorylation of Tyr(291) directly regulates WASp function.