The formation of new branched actin filament networks at the cell cortex of migrating cells is choreographed by the actin-related protein (Arp) 2/3 complex. Despite the fundamental role of the Arp2/3 complex in actin nucleation and branching, upstream signals that control the functions of p41-Arc, a putative regulatory component of the mammalian Arp2/3 complex, remain unidentified. Here we show that p41-Arc interacts with p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1) both in vitro and in vivo. Pak1 phosphorylation of p41-Arc regulates its localization with the Arp2/3 complex in the cortical nucleation regions of cells. Pak1 phosphorylates p41-Arc on threonine 21 in the first WD repeat, and its mutation has functional implications in vivo. Threonine 21 phosphorylation by Pak1 is required for both constitutive and growth-factor-induced cell motility. Pak1 regulation of p41-Arc activation status represents a novel mechanism by which signalling pathways may influence the functions of the Arp2/3 complex, leading to motility in mammalian cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology