The structure of the actin filament uncapping complex mediated by twinfilin
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The three-dimensional structure of a protein involved in the assembly of actin filaments could help to settle a long-standing scientific debate about the regulation of cytoskeletal organization.
The coordinated assembly and disassembly of actin filaments — which give cells their shape and help organize their contents — is fundamental to many cellular processes, including neuronal development, immune responses and the spread of cancer.
Now, a team led by a researcher from the Vidyasirimedhi Institute of Science and Technology has determined the X-ray crystal structure of actin in complex with a bundle of proteins that sit on the fast-growing ends of its filament, like a mushroom cap on a stalk.
They showed how one member of this complex disrupts the capping structure, thereby enabling the breakdown of filaments and allowing individual actin proteins to be used elsewhere in the cell.
- Science Advances 7, eabd5271 (2021). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abd5271