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Overexpression of p49/STRAP alters cellular cytoskeletal structure and gross anatomy in mice

Xiaomin Zhang12, Gohar Azhar12, Steven C Rogers12, Stephen R Foster12, Shaoke Luo12 and Jeanne Y Wei12*

Author Affiliations

1 Reynolds Institute on Aging & Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, 4301 West Markham St. #748, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA

2 Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2014, 15:32  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-15-32

Published: 2 September 2014



The protein p49/STRAP (SRFBP1) is a transcription cofactor of serum response factor (SRF) which regulates cytoskeletal and muscle-specific genes.


Two conserved domains were found in the p49/STRAP protein. The SRF-binding domain was at its N-terminus and was highly conserved among mammalian species, xenopus and zebrafish. A BUD22 domain was found at its C-terminus in three sequence databases. The BUD22 domain was conserved among mammalian p49/STRAP proteins, and yeast cellular morphogenesis proteins, which is involved in ribosome biogenesis that affects growth rate and cell size. The endogenous p49/SRAP protein was localized mainly in the nucleus but also widely distributed in the cytoplasm, and was in close proximity to the actin. Transfected GFP-p49/STRAP protein co-localized with nucleolin within the nucleolus. Overexpression of p49/STRAP reduced actin content in cultured cells and resulted in smaller cell size versus control cells. Increased expression of p49/STRAP in transgenic mice resulted in newborns with malformations, which included asymmetric abdominal and thoracic cavities, and substantial changes in cardiac morphology. p49/STRAP altered the expression of certain muscle-specific genes, including that of the SRF gene, which is a key regulator of cardiac genes at the developmental, structural and maintenance level and has two SRE binding sites.


Since p49/STRAP is a co-factor of SRF, our data suggest that p49/STRAP likely regulates cell size and morphology through SRF target genes. The function of its BUD22 domain warrants further investigation. The observed increase in p49/STRAP expression during cellular aging may contribute to observed morphological changes in senescence.

Transcription cofactor; Homology; Subcellular localization; Cell morphology; Transgenic mice; CMV promoter reactivation