Year of Publication
Nat Struct Mol Biol
Actin-Related Protein 2, Actin-Related Protein 3, Actins/*chemistry/*metabolism, Animals, Cattle, "Crystallography, X-Ray", Cytoskeletal Proteins/*chemistry/genetics/*metabolism/ultrastructure, Microfilament Proteins/chemistry/metabolism, "Microscopy, Ele
The two actin-related subunits of the Arp2/3 complex, Arp2 and Arp3, are proposed to form a pseudo actin dimer that nucleates actin polymerization. However, in the crystal structure of the inactive complex, they are too far apart to form such a nucleus. Here, we show using EM that yeast and bovine Arp2/3 complexes exist in a distribution among open, intermediate and closed conformations. The crystal structure docks well into the open conformation. The activator WASp binds at the cleft between Arp2 and Arp3, and all WASp-bound complexes are closed. The inhibitor coronin binds near the p35 subunit, and all coronin-bound complexes are open. Activating and loss-of-function mutations in the p35 subunit skew conformational distribution in opposite directions, closed and open, respectively. We conclude that WASp stabilizes p35-dependent closure of the complex, holding Arp2 and Arp3 closer together to nucleate an actin filament.