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Ena/VASP processive elongation is modulated by avidity on actin filaments bundled by the filopodia crosslinker fascin

By Alyssa J Harker, Harshwardhan H. Katkar, Tamara C. Bidone, Fikret Aydin, Gregory A. Voth, Derek A. Applewhite, David R. Kovar

Posted 07 Aug 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/386961 (published DOI: 10.1091/mbc.e18-08-0500)

Ena/VASP are tetrameric assembly factors that bind F-actin barbed ends continuously while increasing their elongation rate within dynamic bundled networks such as filopodia. We used single-molecule TIRFM and developed a kinetic model to dissect Ena/VASP's processive mechanism on bundled filaments. Notably, Ena/VASP's processive run length increases with the number of both bundled filaments and Ena arms, revealing avidity facilitates enhanced processivity. Moreover, Ena tetramers form more filopodia than mutant dimer and trimers in Drosophila culture cells. Finally, enhanced processivity on trailing barbed ends of bundled filaments is an evolutionarily conserved property of Ena/VASP homologs and is specific to fascin-bundled filaments. These results demonstrate that Ena tetramers are tailored for enhanced processivity on fascin bundles and avidity of multiple arms associating with multiple filaments is critical for this process. Furthermore, we discovered a novel regulatory mechanism whereby bundle size and bundling protein specificity control activities of a processive assembly factor.

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