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J Cell Biol. 2007 Dec 3;179(5):1011-25.

Structural basis of filamin A functions.

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Translational Medicine Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Filamin A (FLNa) can effect orthogonal branching of F-actin and bind many cellular constituents. FLNa dimeric subunits have N-terminal spectrin family F-actin binding domains (ABDs) and an elongated flexible segment of 24 immunoglobulin (Ig) repeats. We generated a library of FLNa fragments to examine their F-actin binding to define the structural properties of FLNa that enable its various functions. We find that Ig repeats 9-15 contain an F-actin-binding domain necessary for high avidity F-actin binding. Ig repeats 16-24, where most FLNa-binding partners interact, do not bind F-actin, and thus F-actin does not compete with Ig repeat 23 ligand, FilGAP. Ig repeats 16-24 have a compact structure that suggests their unfolding may accommodate pre-stress-mediated stiffening of F-actin networks, partner binding, mechanosensing, and mechanoprotection properties of FLNa. Our results also establish the orientation of FLNa dimers in F-actin branching. Dimerization, mediated by FLNa Ig repeat 24, accounts for rigid high-angle FLNa/F-actin branching resistant to bending by thermal forces, and high avidity F-actin binding and cross-linking.

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