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Mechanism for CARMIL Protein Inhibition of Heterodimeric Actin-capping Protein*

Journal of Biological Chemistry
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m112.345447
  • Molecular Biophysics
  • Biology


Capping protein (CP) controls the polymerization of actin filaments by capping their barbed ends. In lamellipodia, CP dissociates from the actin cytoskeleton rapidly, suggesting the possible existence of an uncapping factor, for which the protein CARMIL (capping protein, Arp2/3 and myosin-I linker) is a candidate. CARMIL binds to CP via two motifs. One, the CP interaction (CPI) motif, is found in a number of unrelated proteins; the other motif is unique to CARMILs, the CARMIL-specific interaction motif. A 115-aa CARMIL fragment of CARMIL with both motifs, termed the CP-binding region (CBR), binds to CP with high affinity, inhibits capping, and causes uncapping. We wanted to understand the structural basis for this function. We used a collection of mutants affecting the actin-binding surface of CP to test the possibility of a steric-blocking model, which remained open because a region of CBR was not resolved in the CBR/CP co-crystal structure. The CP actin-binding mutants bound CBR normally. In addition, a CBR mutant with all residues of the unresolved region changed showed nearly normal binding to CP. Having ruled out a steric blocking model, we tested an allosteric model with molecular dynamics. We found that CBR binding induces changes in the conformation of the actin-binding surface of CP. In addition, ∼30-aa truncations on the actin-binding surface of CP decreased the affinity of CBR for CP. Thus, CARMIL promotes uncapping by binding to a freely accessible site on CP bound to a filament barbed end and inducing a change in the conformation of the actin-binding surface of CP.

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