PROSITE documentation PDOC51082
WH2 domain profile


The WH2 (WASP-Homology 2, or Wiskott-Aldrich homology 2) domain is an ~18 amino acids actin-binding motif. This domain was first recognized as an essential element for the regulation of the cytoskeleton by the mammalian Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) family. WH2 proteins occur in eukaryotes from yeast to mammals, in insect viruses, and in some bacteria. The WH2 domain is found as a modular part of larger proteins; it can be associated with the WH1 or EVH1 domain (see <PDOC50229>) and with the CRIB domain (see <PDOC50108>), and the WH2 domain can occur as a tandem repeat. The WH2 domain binds actin monomers and can facilitate the assembly of actin monomers into newly forming actin filaments [1,2,3,4].

Some proteins known to contain a WH2 domain:

  • Mammalian Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP), a possible regulator of lymphocyte and platelet function. Defects in WASP are the cause of Wiskott- Aldrich syndrome (WAS), an X-linked recessive disease characterized by immune dysregulation and microthrombocytopenia. WASP proteins bind the actin nucleating protein complex Arp2/3.
  • Mammalian N-WASP/WASL and WASF/SCAR/WAVE1-3, and yeast LAS17, which are also proteins from the WASP family that participate in the transduction of signals from the cell surface to the actin cytoskeleton.
  • Baker's yeast Verprolin, a protein involved in cytoskeletal organization and cellular growth.
  • Human WASP interacting protein (WASPIP/WIP), a WASP-, profilin- and actin-binding protein which induces actin polymerization and redistribution.
  • Nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) P61/78/83 capsid protein, which may be important for the persistence and survival of the virus.
  • Fruit fly Spir(e) protein, an actin nucleation factor involved in the development of oocytes and embryos. Spir is conserved among metazoans.
  • Mammalian metastasis suppressor 1 or Missing in Metastasis (MIM) protein, an actin-binding protein that may be related to cancer progression or tumor metastasis.

The profile we developed covers the entire WH2 domain.

Last update:

February 2005 / First entry.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

WH2, PS51082; WH2 domain profile  (MATRIX)


1AuthorsMachesky L.M. Insall R.H. Volkman L.E.
TitleWASP homology sequences in baculoviruses.
SourceTrends Cell Biol. 11:286-287(2001).
PubMed ID11434350

2AuthorsEdwards J.
TitleAre beta-thymosins WH2 domains?
SourceFEBS Lett. 573:231-232(2004).
PubMed ID15328003

3AuthorsPaunola E. Mattila P.K. Lappalainen P.
TitleWH2 domain: a small, versatile adapter for actin monomers.
SourceFEBS Lett. 513:92-97(2002).
PubMed ID11911886

4AuthorsQuinlan M.E. Heuser J.E. Kerkhoff E. Mullins R.D.
TitleDrosophila Spire is an actin nucleation factor.
SourceNature 433:382-388(2005).
PubMed ID15674283

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