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Bioessays. 2000 Jul;22(7):666-72.

Actin-related proteins (Arps): conformational switches for chromatin-remodeling machines?

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  • 1Program in Molecular Medicine and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01605, USA.


The actin superfamily of ATPases includes cytoskeletal actins, the stress 70 proteins (e.g. hsc70), sugar kinases, glycerol kinase, and several prokaryotic cell cycle proteins. Although these proteins share limited sequence identity, they all appear to maintain a similar tertiary structure, the "actin fold", which may serve to couple ATP hydrolysis to protein conformational changes. Recently, an actin-related protein (Arp) subfamily has been identified based on sequence homology to conventional actin. Although some Arps are clearly involved in cytoskeletal functions, both actin and/or Arps have been found as stoichiometric subunits of several nuclear chromatin-remodeling enzymes. Here we present two related models in which actin and/or Arps function as conformational switches that control either the activity or the assembly of chromatin-remodeling machines.

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