In mammalian cells vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is localized to focal adhesions and areas of dynamic membrane activity where it is thought to have a role in actin-filament assembly. The proteins responsible for recruiting VASP to these sites within the cell are not known. The bacterial protein ActA binds VASP via a proline-rich motif that is very similar to a sequence in the proline-rich region of the focal-adhesion protein vinculin. We have examined the ability of VASP, synthesized using an in vitro transcription/translation system, to bind to a series of vinculin peptides expressed as glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins, and have shown that it binds specifically to the proline-rich region in vinculin. Using immobilized peptides corresponding to the two proline-rich motifs within this domain, the VASP-binding site was localized to proline-rich motif-1 (residues 839–850). Binding to this motif was not affected by the phosphorylation state of VASP. The C-terminal region of VASP, which is known to be important in targeting VASP to focal adhesions, was shown to be required for binding. These results identify vinculin as a VASP-binding protein likely to be important in recruiting VASP to focal adhesions and the cell membrane.

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