The Spir actin organizers are involved in vesicle transport processes.
The p150-Spir protein, which was discovered as a phosphorylation target of the Jun N-terminal kinase, is an essential regulator of the polarization of the Drosophila oocyte. Spir proteins are highly conserved between species and belong to the family of Wiskott-Aldrich homology region 2 (WH2) proteins involved in actin organization. The C-terminal region of Spir encodes a zinc finger structure highly homologous to FYVE motifs. A region with high homology between the Spir family proteins is located adjacent (N-terminal) to the modified FYVE domain and is designated as "Spir-box." The Spir-box has sequence similarity to a region of rabphilin-3A, which mediates interaction with the small GTPase Rab3A. Coexpression of p150-Spir and green fluorescent protein-tagged Rab GTPases in NIH 3T3 cells revealed that the Spir protein colocalized specifically with the Rab11 GTPase, which is localized at the trans-Golgi network (TGN), post-Golgi vesicles, and the recycling endosome. The distinct Spir localization pattern was dependent on the integrity of the modified FYVE finger motif and the Spir-box. Overexpression of a mouse Spir-1 dominant interfering mutant strongly inhibited the transport of the vesicular stomatitis virus G (VSV G) protein to the plasma membrane. The viral protein was arrested in membrane structures, largely colocalizing with the TGN marker TGN46. Our findings that the Spir actin organizer is targeted to intracellular membrane structures by its modified FYVE zinc finger and is involved in vesicle transport processes provide a novel link between actin organization and intracellular transport.