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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 Sep 19;101(12):128102. Epub 2008 Sep 17.

Actin bundling: initiation mechanisms and kinetics.

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Richard D. Berlin Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, Department of Cell Biology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Bundling of rapidly polymerizing actin filaments underlies the dynamics of filopodial protrusions that play an important role in cell migration and cell-cell interaction. Recently, the formation of actin bundles has been reconstituted in vitro, and two scenarios of bundle initiation, involving binding of two filament tips and, alternatively, linking of the tip of one filament to the side of the other, have been discussed. A first theoretical analysis is presented indicating that the two mechanisms can be distinguished experimentally. While both of them result counterintuitively in comparable numbers of bundles, these numbers scale differently with the average bundle length. We propose an experiment for determining which of the two mechanisms is involved in the in vitro bundle formation.

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