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Physiol Rev. 2014 Jan;94(1):235-63. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00018.2013.

Actin dynamics, architecture, and mechanics in cell motility.

Abstract

Tight coupling between biochemical and mechanical properties of the actin cytoskeleton drives a large range of cellular processes including polarity establishment, morphogenesis, and motility. This is possible because actin filaments are semi-flexible polymers that, in conjunction with the molecular motor myosin, can act as biological active springs or "dashpots" (in laymen's terms, shock absorbers or fluidizers) able to exert or resist against force in a cellular environment. To modulate their mechanical properties, actin filaments can organize into a variety of architectures generating a diversity of cellular organizations including branched or crosslinked networks in the lamellipodium, parallel bundles in filopodia, and antiparallel structures in contractile fibers. In this review we describe the feedback loop between biochemical and mechanical properties of actin organization at the molecular level in vitro, then we integrate this knowledge into our current understanding of cellular actin organization and its physiological roles.

PMID:
24382887
DOI:
10.1152/physrev.00018.2013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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