Cellular functions of WASP family proteins at a glance

Olga Alekhina, Ezra Burstein, Daniel D. Billadeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Proteins of the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family function as nucleation-promoting factors for the ubiquitously expressed Arp2/3 complex, which drives the generation of branched actin filaments. Arp2/3-generated actin regulates diverse cellular processes, including the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia, endocytosis and/or phagocytosis at the plasma membrane, and the generation of cargo-laden vesicles from organelles including the Golgi, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and the endo-lysosomal network. Recent studies have also identified roles for WASP family members in promoting actin dynamics at the centrosome, influencing nuclear shape and membrane remodeling events leading to the generation of autophagosomes. Interestingly, several WASP family members have also been observed in the nucleus where they directly influence gene expression by serving as molecular platforms for the assembly of epigenetic and transcriptional machinery. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and accompanying poster, we provide an update on the subcellular roles of WHAMM, JMY and WASH (also known as WASHC1), as well as their mechanisms of regulation and emerging functions within the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2235-2241
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2017


  • Actin
  • Arp2/3
  • JMY
  • N-WASP
  • WASH
  • WASP
  • WAVE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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