Sirotkin, Vladimir; Macquarrie, Cameron Dale (2020-12-30)
      Branched actin networks nucleated by the Arp2/3 complex provide force needed to carry out endocytosis. The Arp2/3 complex is activated by Nucleation Promoting Factors (NPFs) including Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome protein WASp. The WASp Interacting Protein WIP binds WASp, protecting it from degradation. Humans with mutations disrupting this interaction develop a serious immune disorder, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome. However, in the fission yeast S. pombe WASp homolog Wsp1 remains stable in the absence of WIP homolog Vrp1, providing an ideal environment to study additional WASp and WIP functions. In fission yeast, Wsp1, Vrp1, and the class-1 myosin Myo1 localize to sites of endocytosis, known as actin patches. Wsp1 and Myo1 play an important role in activating the Arp2/3 complex and initiating the actin network needed to internalize endocytic vesicles. S. pombe endocytosis is a rapid, reproducible event involving over 40 proteins. While several of these proteins are throught to regulate branched actin assembly, many still have poorly defined functions. Importantly, how WASp proteins are regulated at sites of endocytosis remains unclear. The following studies explore mechanisms of Wsp1 regulation using quantitative live cell imaging. In Chapter 2, we observed Wsp1, Vrp1, and Myo1 forming a transient complex near the membrane, positioning branched filaments in a way that optimizes force generation. In Chapter 3, we explored the role of WIP homolog Vrp1 in actin assembly and discovered the Vrp1-Wsp1 interaction is essential for Wsp1-mediated branched actin assembly. In Chapter 4, we examined how a separate module of endocytic coat proteins contributes to actin patch assembly and discovered the coat protein Sla1 inhibits Wsp1 NPF activity, after the endocytic vesicle begins to internalize. In Chapter 5, we examined how Wsp1 and Myo1 impact additional endocytic modules and discovered Wsp1 plays an important role in expediating endocytosis and Myo1 contributes to the localization of several proteins. Lastly, in Chapter 6, we observed that blocking the fastgrowing end of actin filaments does not impact actin assembly in patches. These studies provide key insight into how WASp family proteins are regulated in vivo.