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Trends Cell Biol. 1996 Jun;6(6):208-12.

Actin' like actin?

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Dept of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 725 N. Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


The most biologically significant property of actin is its ability to self-associate and form two-stranded polymeric microfilaments. In living cells, these micro filaments form the actin cytoskeleton, essential for maintenance of the shape, passive mechanical properties and active motility of eukaryotic cells. Recently discovered actin-related proteins (ARPs) appear to share a common ancestor with conventional actin. At present, six classes of ARPs have been discovered, three of which have representatives in diverse species across eukaryotic phyla and may share functional characteristics with conventional actin. The three most ubiquitous ARPs are predicted to share a common core structure with actin and contain all the residues required for ATP binding. Surface residues involved in protein protein interactions, however, have diverged. Models of these proteins based on the atomic structure of actin provide some clues about how ARPs interact with each other, with conventional actin and with conventional actin-binding proteins.


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