Phosphorylated YDXV motifs and Nck SH2/SH3 adaptors act cooperatively to induce actin reorganization

Ivan M. Blasutig, Laura A. New, Ajitha Thanabalasuriar, Thamara K. Dayarathna, Marilyn Goudreault, Susan E. Quaggin, Shawn S C Li, Samantha Gruenheid, Nina Jones, Tony Pawson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


We have analyzed the means by which the Nck family of adaptor proteins couples adhesion proteins to actin reorganization. The nephrin adhesion protein is essential for the formation of actin-based foot processes in glomerular podocytes. The clustering of nephrin induces its tyrosine phosphorylation, Nck recruitment, and sustained localized actin polymerization. Any one of three phosphorylated (p)YDXV motifs on nephrin is sufficient to recruit Nck through its Src homology 2 (SH2) domain and induce localized actin polymerization at these clusters. Similarly, Nck SH3 mutants in which only the second or third SH3 domain is functional can mediate nephrin-induced actin polymerization. However, combining such nephrin and Nck mutants attenuates actin polymerization at nephrin-Nck clusters. We propose that the multiple Nck SH2-binding motifs on nephrin and the multiple SH3 domains of Nck act cooperatively to recruit the high local concentration of effectors at sites of nephrin activation that is required to initiate and maintain actin polymerization in vivo. We also find that YDXV motifs in the Tir protein of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and nephrin are functionally interchangeable, indicating that Tir reorganizes the actin cytoskeleton by molecular mimicry of nephrin-like signaling. Together, these data identify pYDXV/Nck signaling as a potent and portable mechanism for physiological and pathological actin regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2035-2046
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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