Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome proteins in the nucleus: aWASH with possibilities.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nucleus (Austin, Tex.) (2015)


Actin and proteins that regulate its dynamics or interactions have well-established roles in the cytoplasm where they function as key components of the cytoskeleton to control diverse processes, including cellular infrastructure, cellular motility, cell signaling, and vesicle transport. Recent work has also uncovered roles for actin and its regulatory proteins in the nucleus, primarily in mechanisms governing gene expression. The Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome (WAS) family of proteins, comprising the WASP/N-WASP, SCAR/WAVE, WHAMM/JMY/WHAMY, and WASH subfamilies, function in the cytoplasm where they activate the Arp2/3 complex to form branched actin filaments. WAS proteins are present in the nucleus and have been implicated as transcriptional regulators. We found that Drosophila Wash, in addition to transcriptional effects, is involved in global nuclear architecture. Here we summarize the regulation and function of nuclear WAS proteins, and highlight how our work with Wash expands the possibilities for the functions of these proteins in the nucleus.