Indexed on: 30 Jan '16Published on: 30 Jan '16Published in: Molecular biology of the cell
Small G-proteins are key regulatory molecules that activate the actin nucleation machinery to drive cytoskeletal rearrangements during plasma membrane remodeling. However, the ability of small G-proteins to interact with nucleation factors on internal membranes to control trafficking processes has not been well characterized. Here we investigated roles for members of the Rho, Arf, and Rab G-protein families in regulating WASP homologue associated with actin, membranes, and microtubules (WHAMM), an activator of Arp2/3 complex-mediated actin nucleation. We found that Rab1 stimulated the formation and elongation of WHAMM-associated membrane tubules in cells. Active Rab1 recruited WHAMM to dynamic tubulovesicular structures in fibroblasts, and an active prenylated version of Rab1 bound directly to an N-terminal domain of WHAMM in vitro. In contrast to other G-protein-nucleation factor interactions, Rab1 binding inhibited WHAMM-mediated actin assembly. This ability of Rab1 to regulate WHAMM and the Arp2/3 complex represents a distinct strategy for membrane remodeling in which a Rab G-protein recruits the actin nucleation machinery but dampens its activity.