Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 21;109(8):2913-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1114292109. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Actin filament curvature biases branching direction.

Author information

  • 1Biophysics Graduate Group, Chemistry Department, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Abstract

Mechanical cues affect many important biological processes in metazoan cells, such as migration, proliferation, and differentiation. Such cues are thought to be detected by specialized mechanosensing molecules linked to the cytoskeleton, an intracellular network of protein filaments that provide mechanical rigidity to the cell and drive cellular shape change. The most abundant such filament, actin, forms branched networks nucleated by the actin-related protein (Arp) 2/3 complex that support or induce membrane protrusions and display adaptive behavior in response to compressive forces. Here we show that filamentous actin serves in a mechanosensitive capacity itself, by biasing the location of actin branch nucleation in response to filament bending. Using an in vitro assay to measure branching from curved sections of immobilized actin filaments, we observed preferential branch formation by the Arp2/3 complex on the convex face of the curved filament. To explain this behavior, we propose a fluctuation gating model in which filament binding or branch nucleation by Arp2/3 occur only when a sufficiently large, transient, local curvature fluctuation causes a favorable conformational change in the filament, and we show with Monte Carlo simulations that this model can quantitatively account for our experimental data. We also show how the branching bias can reinforce actin networks in response to compressive forces. These results demonstrate how filament curvature can alter the interaction of cytoskeletal filaments with regulatory proteins, suggesting that direct mechanotransduction by actin may serve as a general mechanism for organizing the cytoskeleton in response to force.

Comment in

PMID:
22308368
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3286980
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (5)Free text

Fig. 1.
Fig. 2.
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4.
Fig. 5.
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk