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Exp Cell Res. 2011 Feb 1;317(3):249-61. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.10.019. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Tropomyosin isoform 3 promotes the formation of filopodia by regulating the recruitment of actin-binding proteins to actin filaments.

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Oncology Research Unit, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, NSW, Australia.


Tropomyosins are believed to function in part by stabilizing actin filaments. However, accumulating evidence suggests that fundamental differences in function exist between tropomyosin isoforms, which contributes to the formation of functionally distinct filament populations. We investigated the functions of the high-molecular-weight isoform Tm3 and examined the molecular properties of Tm3-containing actin filament populations. Overexpression of the Tm3 isoform specifically induced the formation of filopodia and changes in actin solubility. We observed alterations in actin-binding protein recruitment to filaments, co-incident with changes in expression levels, which can account for this functional outcome. Tm3-associated filaments recruit active actin depolymerizing factor and are bundled into filopodia by fascin, which is both up-regulated and preferentially associated with Tm3-containing filaments in the Tm3 overexpressing cells. This study provides further insight into the isoform-specific roles of different tropomyosin isoforms. We conclude that variation in the tropomyosin isoform composition of microfilaments provides a mechanism to generate functionally distinct filament populations.

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