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The Arp2/3 Regulatory System and Its Deregulation in Cancer

The Arp2/3 complex is an evolutionary conserved molecular machine that generates branched actin networks. When activated, the Arp2/3 complex contributes the actin branched junction and thus cross-links the polymerizing actin filaments in a network that exerts a pushing force. The different activators initiate branched actin networks at the cytosolic surface of different cellular membranes to promote their protrusion, movement, or scission in cell migration and membrane traffic. Here we review the structure, function, and regulation of all the direct regulators of the Arp2/3 complex that induce or inhibit the initiation of a branched actin network and that controls the stability of its branched junctions. Our goal is to present recent findings concerning novel inhibitory proteins or the regulation of the actin branched junction and place these in the context of what was previously known to provide a global overview of how the Arp2/3 complex is regulated in human cells. We focus on the human set of Arp2/3 regulators to compare normal Arp2/3 regulation in untransformed cells to the deregulation of the Arp2/3 system observed in patients affected by various cancers. In many cases, these deregulations promote cancer progression and have a direct impact on patient survival.

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