The VCA domain of the neuronal Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) is a potent activator of the Arp2/3 complex, a 240 kDa heteroheptameric actin-nucleating assembly. We used site-directed spin labeling of N-WASP peptides in conjunction with methyl-TROSY spectra of the intact, selectively labeled Arp2/3 complex to identify regions of the VCA that are proximal to the ARPC3 subunit of the assembly. We also cross-linked CA peptides to the Arp3, Arp2, ARPC1, and ARPC3 subunits. The combined data suggest that the extreme C-terminus of the A region and the C-terminus of the C region of N-WASP are proximal to ARPC3. These results have implications for the mechanism of Arp2/3 complex activation by VCA peptides. This study also demonstrates the utility of NMR spectroscopy for studying ligand binding events in large, asymmetric, macromolecular assemblies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas