The scaffolding protein WAVE-1 (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein family member 1) directs signals from the GTPase Rac through the Arp2/3 complex to facilitate neuronal actin remodeling. The WAVE-associated GTPase activating protein called WRP is implicated in human mental retardation, and WAVE-1 knock-out mice have altered behavior. Neuronal time-lapse imaging, behavioral analyses, and electrophysiological recordings from genetically modified mice were used to show that WAVE-1 signaling complexes control aspects of neuronal morphogenesis and synaptic plasticity. Gene targeting experiments in mice demonstrate that WRP anchoring to WAVE-1 is a homeostatic mechanism that contributes to neuronal development and the fidelity of synaptic connectivity. This implies that signaling through WAVE-1 complexes is essential for neural plasticity and cognitive behavior
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