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Biol Chem. 2010 Jun;391(6):591-7. doi: 10.1515/BC.2010.061.

Actin-mediated gene expression in neurons: the MRTF-SRF connection.

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  • 1Interfaculty Institute for Cell Biology, Department of Molecular Biology, Neuronal Gene Expression Laboratory, Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The traditional view of cellular actin is a rather autarkic cytoskeletal framework function confined to the cytoplasm. However, there is now evidence that alterations in actin dynamics are sensed by the nucleus and subsequently modulate gene expression. In communicating with the nucleus, cytoplasmic, and most likely also nucleus-resident actin, provides a further (gene) regulatory loop to cell motility. A transcription module composed of MRTF (myocardin-related transcription factor) and SRF (serum response factor) emerges as prime target of such actin signaling. Here, I focus on the nervous system, where the actin-MRTF-SRF entity governs multiple aspects of neuronal motility.

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