Cyclase-associated protein (CAP) is a conserved actin-regulatory protein that functions together with actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin to enhance actin filament dynamics. CAP has multiple functional domains, and the function to regulate actin monomers is carried out by its C-terminal half containing a Wiskott–Aldrich Syndrome protein homology 2 (WH2) domain, a CAP and X-linked retinitis pigmentosa 2 (CARP) domain, and a dimerization motif. WH2 and CARP are implicated in binding to actin monomers and important for enhancing filament turnover. However, the role of the dimerization motif is unknown. Here, we investigated the function of the dimerization motif of CAS-2, a CAP isoform in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, in actin monomer regulation. CAS-2 promotes ATP-dependent recycling of ADF/cofilin-bound actin monomers for polymerization by enhancing exchange of actin-bound nucleotides. The C-terminal half of CAS-2 (CAS-2C) has nearly as strong activity as full-length CAS-2. Maltose-binding protein (MBP)-tagged CAS-2C is a dimer. However, MBP-CAS-2C with a truncation of either one or two C-terminal β-strands is monomeric. Truncations of the dimerization motif in MBP-CAS-2C nearly completely abolish its activity to sequester actin monomers from polymerization and enhance nucleotide exchange on actin monomers. As a result, these CAS-2C variants, also in the context of full-length CAS-2, fail to compete with ADF/cofilin to release actin monomers for polymerization. CAS-2C variants lacking the dimerization motif exhibit enhanced binding to actin filaments, which is mediated by WH2. Taken together, these results suggest that the evolutionarily conserved dimerization motif of CAP is essential for its C-terminal region to exert the actin monomer-specific regulatory function.

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