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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Oct;22(20):3826-39. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E11-06-0492. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

The functionally distinct fission yeast formins have specific actin-assembly properties.

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Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Fission yeast expresses three formins required for distinct actin cytoskeletal processes: Cdc12 (cytokinesis), For3 (polarization), and Fus1 (mating). We propose that in addition to differential regulation, key actin-assembly properties tailor formins for a particular role. In direct comparison to the well-studied Cdc12, we report the first in vitro characterization of the actin-assembly properties of For3 and Fus1. All three share fundamental formin activities; however, particular reaction rates vary significantly. Cdc12 is an efficient nucleator (one filament per approximately 3 Cdc12 dimers) that processively elongates profilin-actin at a moderate rate of 10 subunits s(-1) μM(-1), but lacks filament-bundling activity. Fus1 is also an efficient nucleator, yet processively elongates profilin-actin at one-half the rate of and dissociates 10-fold more rapidly than Cdc12; it also bundles filaments. For3 nucleates filaments 100-fold less well than Fus1, but like Cdc12, processively elongates profilin-actin at a moderate rate and lacks filament-bundling activity. Additionally, both the formin homology FH1 and FH2 domains contribute to the overall rate of profilin-actin elongation. We also confirmed the physiological importance of the actin-assembly activity of the fission yeast formins. Point mutants that disrupt their ability to stimulate actin assembly in vitro do not function properly in vivo.

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