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Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Jun;17(6):2722-34. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

Caenorhabditis elegans kettin, a large immunoglobulin-like repeat protein, binds to filamentous actin and provides mechanical stability to the contractile apparatuses in body wall muscle.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Kettin is a large actin-binding protein with immunoglobulin-like (Ig) repeats, which is associated with the thin filaments in arthropod muscles. Here, we report identification and functional characterization of kettin in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. We found that one of the monoclonal antibodies that were raised against C. elegans muscle proteins specifically reacts with kettin (Ce-kettin). We determined the entire cDNA sequence of Ce-kettin that encodes a protein of 472 kDa with 31 Ig repeats. Arthropod kettins are splice variants of much larger connectin/titin-related proteins. However, the gene for Ce-kettin is independent of other connectin/titin-related genes. Ce-kettin localizes to the thin filaments near the dense bodies in both striated and nonstriated muscles. The C-terminal four Ig repeats and the adjacent non-Ig region synergistically bind to actin filaments in vitro. RNA interference of Ce-kettin caused weak disorganization of the actin filaments in body wall muscle. This phenotype was suppressed by inhibiting muscle contraction by a myosin mutation, but it was enhanced by tetramisole-induced hypercontraction. Furthermore, Ce-kettin was involved in organizing the cytoplasmic portion of the dense bodies in cooperation with alpha-actinin. These results suggest that kettin is an important regulator of myofibrillar organization and provides mechanical stability to the myofibrils during contraction.

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