Monoubiquitination inhibits the actin bundling activity of fascin

Shengchen Lin, Shuang Lu, Mentor Mulaj, Bin Fang, Tyler Keeley, Lixin Wan, Jihui Hao, Martin Muschol, Jianwei Sun, Shengyu Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Fascin is an actin bundling protein that cross-links individual actin filaments into straight, compact, and stiff bundles, which are crucial for the formation of filopodia, stereocillia, and other finger-like membrane protrusions. The dysregulation of fascin has been implicated in cancer metastasis, hearing loss, and blindness. Here we identified monoubiquitination as a novel mechanism that regulates fascin bundling activity and dynamics. The monoubiquitination sites were identified to be Lys247 and Lys250, two residues located in a positive charge patch at the actin binding site 2 of fascin. Using a chemical ubiquitination method, we synthesized chemically monoubiquitinated fascin and determined the effects of monoubiquitination on fascin bundling activity and dynamics. Our data demonstrated that monoubiquitination decreased the fascin bundling EC50, delayed the initiation of bundle assembly, and accelerated the disassembly of existing bundles. By analyzing the electrostatic properties on the solvent-accessible surface of fascin, we proposed that monoubiquitination introduced steric hindrance to interfere with the interaction between actin filaments and the positively charged patch at actin binding site 2. We also identified Smurf1 as a E3 ligase regulating the monoubiquitination of fascin. Our findings revealed a previously unidentified regulatory mechanism for fascin, which will have important implications for the understanding of actin bundle regulation under physiological and pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27323-27333
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number53
StatePublished - Dec 30 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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