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Biophys Chem. 1975 Jul;3(3):215-25.

Kinetics of the cooperative association of actin to actin filaments.


The cooperative formation of actin filaments from monomers was followed by light scattering and electron microscopy. The results are well described by a simple model mechanism in which the growth and destruction of filaments occurs by stepwise addition or dissociation of protomers. All steps except the dimerisation step are assumed to have identical rate constants. These were found to be 5 X 10(3) M-1 - sec-1 and 3 X 10(-2) sec-1 for the association and dissociation, respectively (at pH 7.5 and in the presence of 10(-3) M calcium chloride). The equilibrium constant of elongation as obtained from the critical concentration is 1.7 X 10(5) M-1. The corresponding equilibrium constant of dimerisation is about 10 million times smaller (cooperativity parameter sigma = 2 X 10(-7)). This makes the nucleation extremely difficult and cooperativity very high. A best fit of the model to the experimental data is achieved when the destruction of a dimer is much faster than the addition of a third protomer (fast monomer- dimer pre-equilibrium). The size of the nucleus from which propagation becomes faster than dissociation is 3.

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