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Int Rev Cytol. 2003;224:173-225.

Myosins and cell dynamics in cellular slime molds.

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Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi 753-8512, Japan.


Myosin is a mechanochemical transducer and serves as a motor for various motile activities such as cell migration, cytokinesis, maintenance of cell shape, phagocytosis, and morphogenesis. Nonmuscle myosin in vivo does not either stay static at specific subcellular regions or construct highly organized structures, such as sarcomere in skeletal muscle cells. The cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum is an ideal "model organism" for the investigation of cell movement and cytokinesis. The advantages of this organism prompted researchers to carry out pioneering cell biological, biochemical, and molecular genetic studies on myosin II, which resulted in elucidation of many fundamental features of function and regulation of this most abundant molecular motor. Furthermore, recent molecular biological research has revealed that many unconventional myosins play various functions in vivo. In this article, how myosins are organized and regulated in a dynamic manner in Dictyostelium cells is reviewed and discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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