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Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Nov;13(11):593-601.

Tropomodulins: life at the slow end.

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Department of Cell Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Dynamic exchange of actin monomers at filament ends is crucial for the functional architecture of many cytoskeletal-dependent processes. Recent evidence indicates that tropomodulins (Tmods), a conserved family of actin-capping proteins that bind to the pointed (slow-growing) end of actin filaments, regulate a variety of actin structures, including dynamic actin networks found in some motile cells. Actin structures that are more stable, such as sarcomeric thin filaments, require capping by Tmods to specify filament lengths and to provide filament stability. Here, we discuss the functional differences between the capping of pointed and barbed ends within the context of these actin-filament systems, and how Tmods uniquely contribute to their regulation and organization.

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