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Mol Biol Cell. 2005 Nov;16(11):5055-60. Epub 2005 Sep 7.

Nuclear actin extends, with no contraction in sight.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology and Program in Cell Dynamics, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Within the past two years, actin has been implicated in eukaryotic gene transcription by all three classes of RNA polymerase. Moreover, within just the past year, actin has been identified as a constituent of filaments attached to the nuclear pore complexes and extending into the nucleus. This review summarizes these and other very recent advances in the nuclear actin field and emphasizes the key present issues. On the one hand, we are confronted with a body of evidence for a role of actin in gene transcription but with no known structural basis; on the other hand, there is now evidence for polymeric actin--not likely in the classical F-actin conformation--in the nuclear periphery with no known function. In addition, numerous proteins that interact with either G- or F-actin are increasingly being detected in the nucleus, suggesting that both monomeric and oligomeric or polymeric forms of actin are at play and raising the possibility that the equilibrium between them, perhaps differentially regulated at various intranuclear sites, may be a major determinant of nuclear function.

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