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Biochemistry. 2004 Sep 14;43(36):11554-9.

Expression of a nonpolymerizable actin mutant in Sf9 cells.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont 05405-0068, USA.


We have succeeded in expressing actin in the baculovirus/Sf9 cell system in high yield. The wild-type (WT) actin is functionally indistinguishable from tissue-purified actin in its ability to activate ATPase activity and to support movement in an in vitro motility assay. Having achieved this feat, we used a mutational strategy to express a monomeric actin that is incapable of polymerization. Native actin requires actin binding proteins or chemical modification to maintain it in a monomeric state. The mutant actin sediments in the analytical ultracentrifuge as a homogeneous monomeric species of 3.2 S in 100 mM KCl and 2 mM MgCl(2), conditions that cause WT actin to polymerize. The two point mutations that render actin nonpolymerizable are in subdomain 4 (A204E/P243K; "AP-actin"), distant from the myosin binding site. AP-actin binds to skeletal myosin subfragment 1 (S1) and forms a homogeneous complex as demonstrated by analytical ultracentrifugation. The ATPase activity of a cross-linked AP-actin.S1 complex is higher than that of S1 alone, although less than that supported by filamentous actin (F-actin). AP-Actin is an excellent candidate for structural studies of complexes of actin with motor proteins and other actin-binding proteins.

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