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Commun Biol. 2019 Mar 7;2:93. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0322-9. eCollection 2019.

Cytoskeletal actin patterns shape mast cell activation.

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1MRC Human Immunology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Headley Way, Oxford, OX3 9DS UK.
2Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus, 19700 Helix Drive, Ashburn, VA 20147 USA.
3National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101 China.
4Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology, University of Oxford, Roosevelt Drive, Oxford, OX3 7LF UK.
5MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 0QH UK.


Activation of immune cells relies on a dynamic actin cytoskeleton. Despite detailed knowledge of molecular actin assembly, the exact processes governing actin organization during activation remain elusive. Using advanced microscopy, we here show that Rat Basophilic Leukemia (RBL) cells, a model mast cell line, employ an orchestrated series of reorganization events within the cortical actin network during activation. In response to IgE antigen-stimulation of FCε receptors (FCεR) at the RBL cell surface, we observed symmetry breaking of the F-actin network and subsequent rapid disassembly of the actin cortex. This was followed by a reassembly process that may be driven by the coordinated transformation of distinct nanoscale F-actin architectures, reminiscent of self-organizing actin patterns. Actin patterns co-localized with zones of Arp2/3 nucleation, while network reassembly was accompanied by myosin-II activity. Strikingly, cortical actin disassembly coincided with zones of granule secretion, suggesting that cytoskeletal actin patterns contribute to orchestrate RBL cell activation.

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