Biomolecular condensates concentrate macromolecules into foci without a surrounding membrane. Many condensates appear to form through multivalent interactions that drive liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). LLPS increases the specific activity of actin regulatory proteins toward actin assembly by the Arp2/3 complex. We show that this increase occurs because LLPS of the Nephrin-Nck-N-WASP signaling pathway on lipid bilayers increases membrane dwell time of N-WASP and Arp2/3 complex, consequently increasing actin assembly. Dwell time varies with relative stoichiometry of the signaling proteins in the phase-separated clusters, rendering N-WASP and Arp2/3 activity stoichiometry dependent. This mechanism of controlling protein activity is enabled by the stoichiometrically undefined nature of biomolecular condensates. Such regulation should be a general feature of signaling systems that assemble through multivalent interactions and drive nonequilibrium outputs.
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Actin-binding proteins are a component of the actin cytoskeleton that play essential roles in cellular functions such as regulation of actin polymerization, maintenance of cell polarity, gene expression regulation, cell motility and many more functions. Discover the latest research on actin-binding proteins here.