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Biochemistry. 2009 Jan 20;48(2):370-8. doi: 10.1021/bi801649j.

Effects of binding factors on structural elements in F-actin.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Understanding the dynamics of the actin filament is essential to a detailed description of their interactions and role in the cell. Previous studies have linked the dynamic properties of actin filaments (F-actin) to three structural elements contributing to a hydrophobic pocket, namely, the hydrophobic loop, the DNase I binding loop, and the C-terminus. Here, we examine how these structural elements are influenced by factors that stabilize or destabilize F-actin, using site-directed spin-labeled (SDSL) electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), fluorescence, and cross-linking techniques. Specifically, we employ cofilin, an actin destabilizing protein that binds and severs filaments, and phalloidin, a fungal toxin that binds and stabilizes F-actin. We find that cofilin shifts both the DNase I binding loop and the hydrophobic loop away from the C-terminus in F-actin, as demonstrated by weakened spin-spin interactions, and alters the environment of spin probes on residues of these two loops. In contrast, although phalloidin strongly stabilizes F-actin, it causes little or no local change in the environment of the loop residues. This indicates that the stabilizing effect of phalloidin is achieved mainly through constraining structural fluctuations in F-actin and suggests that factors and interactions that control these fluctuations have an important role in the cytoskeleton dynamics.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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