Abl kinases regulate actin comet tail elongation via an N-WASP-dependent pathway.
Microbial pathogens have evolved diverse strategies to modulate the host cell cytoskeleton to achieve a productive infection and have proven instrumental for unraveling the molecular machinery that regulates actin polymerization. Here we uncover a mechanism for Shigella flexneri-induced actin comet tail elongation that links Abl family kinases to N-WASP-dependent actin polymerization. We show that the Abl kinases are required for Shigella actin comet tail formation, maximal intracellular motility, and cell-to-cell spread. Abl phosphorylates N-WASP, a host cell protein required for actin comet tail formation, and mutation of the Abl phosphorylation sites on N-WASP impairs comet tail elongation. Furthermore, we show that defective comet tail formation in cells lacking Abl kinases is rescued by activated forms of N-WASP. These data demonstrate for the first time that the Abl kinases play a role in the intracellular motility and intercellular dissemination of Shigella and uncover a new role for Abl kinases in the regulation of pathogen motility.
Burton, EA; Oliver, TN; Pendergast, AM
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