Document Type



Applied Science

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Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) is a processive actin polymerase with roles in the control of cell shape and cell migration. Through interaction with the cytoskeletal adaptor protein Zyxin, VASP can localize to damaged stress fibers where it serves to repair and reinforce these structures. VASP localization is mediated by its N-terminal Ena/VASP homology (EVH1) domain, which binds to the (W/F)Px phi P motif (most commonly occurring as FPPPP) found in cytoskeletal proteins such as vinculin, lamellipodin, and Zyxin. Sequentially close clusters of four or five of these motifs frequently occur, as in the proline rich region of Zyxin with four such motifs. This suggests that tetrameric VASP might bind very tightly to Zyxin through avidity, with all four EVH1 domains binding to a single Zyxin molecule. Here, quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance titration analysis reveals a dominant bivalent 1:1 (Zyxin:EVH1)interaction between the Zyxin proline rich region and the VASP EVH1 domain that utilizes the EVH1 canonical binding site and a novel secondary binding site on the opposite face of the EVH1 domain. We further show that binding to the secondary binding site is specifically inhibited by mutation of VASP EVH1 domain residue Y39 to E, which mimics Abl-induced phosphorylation of Y39. On the basis of these findings, we propose a model in which phosphorylation of Y39 acts as a stoichiometry switch that governs binding partner selection by the constitutive VASP tetramer. These results have broader implications for other multivalent VASP EVH1 domain binding partners and for furthering our understanding of the role of Y39 phosphorylation in regulating VASP localization and cellular function.