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CLASP2 facilitates dynamic actin filament organization along the microtubule lattice


Rodgers NCN C , Lawrence EJE J , Sawant AVA V , Efimova NN , Gonzalez-Vasquez GG , Hickman TTT T , Kaverina II , Zanic MM . Molecular biology of the cell. 2023 1 4; (). mbcE22050149


Coordination between the microtubule and actin networks is essential for cell motility, neuronal growth cone guidance, and wound healing. Members of the CLASP (Cytoplasmic Linker-Associated Protein) family of proteins have been implicated in the cytoskeletal crosstalk between microtubules and actin networks, however, the molecular mechanisms underlying CLASPs role in cytoskeletal coordination are unclear. Here, we investigate CLASP2α’s crosslinking function with microtubules and F-actin. Our results demonstrate that CLASP2α crosslinks F-actin to the microtubule lattice in vitro. We find that the crosslinking ability is retained by L-TOG2-S, a minimal construct containing the TOG2 domain and serine-arginine rich region of CLASP2α. Furthermore, CLASP2α promotes the accumulation of multiple actin filaments along the microtubule, supporting up to 11 F-actin landing events on a single microtubule lattice region. CLASP2α also facilitates dynamic organization of polymerizing actin filaments templated by the microtubule network, with F-actin forming bridges between individual microtubules. Finally, we find that depletion of CLASPs in vascular smooth muscle cells results in disorganized actin fibers and reduced co-alignment of actin fibers with microtubules, suggesting that CLASP and microtubules contribute to higher-order actin structures. Taken together, our results indicate that CLASP2α can directly crosslink F-actin to microtubules, and that this microtubule-CLASP-actin interaction may influence overall cytoskeletal organization in cells.