The Nf2 tumor suppressor gene codes for merlin, a protein whose function has been elusive. We describe a novel interaction between merlin and p21-activated kinase 1 (Pak1), which is dynamic and facilitated upon increased cellular confluence. Merlin inhibits the activation of Pak1, as the loss of merlin expression results in the inappropriate activation of Pak1 under conditions associated with low basal activity. Conversely, the overexpression of merlin in cells that display a high basal activity of Pak1 resulted in the inhibition of Pak1 activation. This inhibitory function of merlin is mediated through its binding to the Pak1 PBD and by inhibiting Pak1 recruitment to focal adhesions. This link provides a possible mechanism for the effect of loss of merlin expression in tumorigenesis.
SciCrunch is a data sharing and display platform. Anyone can create a custom portal where they can select searchable subsets of hundreds of data sources, brand their web pages and create their community. SciCrunch will push data updates automatically to all portals on a weekly basis. User communities can also add their own data to scicrunch, however this is not currently a free service.