Cytoskeletal proteins

Cytoskeletal proteins are proteins that make up the cytoskeleton, flagella or cilia of cells. Generally, cytoskeletal proteins are polymers, and include tubulin (the protein component of microtubules), actin (the component of microfilaments) and lamin (the component of intermediate filaments).

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News and Views |

    Dynactin is an essential cofactor for the microtubule-based motor cytoplasmic dynein. Two recent papers report structures obtained by cryo-EM of dynactin, the dynein–dynactin complex and dynein–dynactin bound to its track, the microtubule.

    • Samara L Reck-Peterson
  • News and Views |

    During infection, pathogenic Yersinia species secrete the antiphagocytic factor YopO (or YpkA), which contains a kinase domain and a Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide–dissociation inhibitor (GDI) domain. The structure of YopO in complex with actin, along with biochemical analyses, reveals the mechanism by which YopO uses actin to activate its kinase domain and recruit, phosphorylate and deactivate actin-assembly factors implicated in phagocytic clearance of the bacterium.

    • Roberto Dominguez
  • News and Views |

    Cells can sense their environment by applying and responding to mechanical forces, yet how these forces are transmitted through the cell's cytoskeleton is largely unknown. Now, a combination of experiments and computer simulations shows how forces applied to the cell cortex are synergistically shared by motor proteins and crosslinkers.

    • Andreas R. Bausch
    •  & Ulrich S. Schwarz
    Nature Materials 12, 948-949
  • News and Views |

    α-catenin exists as part of the cadherin–catenin adhesion complex as well as in a cytoplasmic pool. However, which of these pools is responsible for its biological impact remains controversial. A structure-function analysis in Drosophila melanogaster illuminates how the molecular properties of α-catenin translate into functional outcomes in an intact organism.

    • Siew-Ping Han
    •  & Alpha S. Yap
    Nature Cell Biology 15, 238-239