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Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 1999;15:185-230.

Proteins of the ADF/cofilin family: essential regulators of actin dynamics.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


Ubiquitous among eukaryotes, the ADF/cofilins are essential proteins responsible for the high turnover rates of actin filaments in vivo. In vertebrates, ADF and cofilin are products of different genes. Both bind to F-actin cooperatively and induce a twist in the actin filament that results in the loss of the phalloidin-binding site. This conformational change may be responsible for the enhancement of the off rate of subunits at the minus end of ADF/cofilin-decorated filaments and for the weak filament-severing activity. Binding of ADF/cofilin is competitive with tropomyosin. Other regulatory mechanisms in animal cells include binding of phosphoinositides, phosphorylation by LIM kinases on a single serine, and changes in pH. Although vertebrate ADF/cofilins contain a nuclear localization sequence, they are usually concentrated in regions containing dynamic actin pools, such as the leading edge of migrating cells and neuronal growth cones. ADF/cofilins are essential for cytokinesis, phagocytosis, fluid phase endocytosis, and other cellular processes dependent upon actin dynamics.

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