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Bioessays. 2005 Apr;27(4):388-96.

Evolution of the gelsolin family of actin-binding proteins as novel transcriptional coactivators.

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  • 1Molecular Genetics and Evolution Group and Centre for the Molecular Genetics of Development, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.


The gelsolin gene family encodes a number of higher eukaryotic actin-binding proteins that are thought to function in the cytoplasm by severing, capping, nucleating or bundling actin filaments. Recent evidence, however, suggests that several members of the gelsolin family may have adopted unexpected nuclear functions including a role in regulating transcription. In particular, flightless I, supervillin and gelsolin itself have roles as coactivators for nuclear receptors, despite the fact that their divergence appears to predate the evolutionary appearance of nuclear receptors. Flightless I has been shown to bind both actin and the actin-related BAF53a protein, which are subunits of SWI/SNF-like chromatin remodelling complexes. The primary sequences of some actin-related proteins such as BAF53a exhibit conservation of residues that, in actin itself, are known to interact with gelsolin-related proteins. In summary, there is a growing body of evidence supporting a biological role in the nucleus for actin, Arps and actin-binding proteins and, in particular, the gelsolin family of actin-binding proteins.

Copyright 2005 Wiley periodicals, Inc.

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