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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2006 Dec;9(6):554-62. Epub 2006 Sep 29.

Actin dynamics: old friends with new stories.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2064, USA.


Actin dynamics, or the rapid turnover of actin filaments, play a central role in numerous cellular processes. A large and diverse cast of characters, accessory proteins known as actin-binding proteins, modulate actin dynamics. They do this by binding to the monomer pool, interacting with the side and ends of filaments, creating breaks along a filament, and generating new filaments de novo. Recent biochemical and single-filament imaging analyses of several conserved classes of plant actin-binding proteins reveal unusual and unexpected properties. Examples that are highlighted in this review include: an abundant monomer-binding protein that catalyzes nucleotide exchange; a barbed-end capping protein that is dissociated from filament ends by the signaling lipid, phosphatidic acid; a villin-like bundling protein that lacks all Ca(2+)-regulated activities; and a formin family member that is non-processive and is sufficient to generate actin filament bundles. These and other stories motivate a careful description of the properties of plant proteins in vitro as a prelude to greater insight into the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the regulation of actin dynamics in vivo.

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