Tag Archives: actin

Synergy between cyclase-associated protein and cofilin accelerates actin filament depolymerization by two orders of magnitude

From Science at Brandeis:

“All animal and plant cells contain a highly elaborate system of filamentous protein polymers called the actin cytoskeleton, a scaffold that can be rapidly transformed to alter a cell’s shape and function. A critical step in reconfiguring this scaffold is the rapid disassembly (or turnover) of the actin filaments. But how is this achieved? It has long been known that the protein Cofilin plays a central role in this process, but it has been unclear how Cofilin achieves this feat. Cofilin can sever actin filaments into smaller fragments to promote their disassembly, but whether it also catalyzes subunit dissociation from filament ends has remained uncertain and controversial. Until now, this problem has been difficult to address because of limitations in directly observing Cofilin’s biochemical effects at filament ends….”  Dr. Shashank Shekhar, working together with Dr. Johnson Chung and “jointly mentored by Bruce Goode, Jeff Gelles and Jane Kondev, use[d] microfluidics-assisted single molecule TIRF imaging to tackle the problem.

The new study shows that Cofilin and one other protein (Srv2/CAP) intimately collaborate at one end of the actin filament to accelerate subunit dissociation by over 300-fold! These are the fastest rates of actin depolymerization ever observed. Further, these results establish a new paradigm in which a protein that decorates filament sides (Cofilin) works in concert with a protein that binds to filament ends (Srv2/CAP) to produce an activity that is orders of magnitude stronger than the that of either protein alone.”

10.1038/s41467-019-13268-1
Shekhar S. et al. Synergy between cyclase-associated protein and cofilin accelerates actin filament depolymerization by two orders of magnitude.
Nature Communications
10, 5319 (2019).

Abp1 regulation of branched actin networks

Branched actin filament networks formed by the Arp2/3 complex play an essential role in force production in eukaryotic cells.  Branched networks are not static components of the cytoskeleton.  Instead the times and locations of network assembly  and disassembly are tightly controlled by regulatory proteins.  Ph.D. student Siyang Guo used single-molecule fluorescence methods to show how the Abp1 protein positively regulates branched actin networks.  Remarkably, Apb1 functions by two distinct mechanisms.  The protein stimulates the formation of networks by stabilizing the binding of Arp2/3 complex to the sides of actin filaments, a precursor to branch formation.  However after branches form bound Abp1 works differently: it protects the network from GMF, the “pruning shears” protein that chops off branches during network disassembly.  Taken as a whole, the study gives deeper insight into the multiple layers of regulation that control cytoskeleton pattern formation and dynamics.  This project is part of a long-term collaboration on cytoskeletal regulation with Bruce Goode’s lab.

10.1038/s41467-018-05260-y
Abp1 promotes Arp2/3 complex-dependent actin nucleation and stabilizes branch junctions by antagonizing GMF
Siyang Guo, Olga S. Sokolova, Johnson Chung, Shae Padrick, Jeff Gelles, Bruce L. Goode
Nature Communications (2018) 9:2895.