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J Biol Chem. 1980 Feb 10;255(3):841-4.

The effects of cytochalasins on actin polymerization and actin ATPase provide insights into the mechanism of polymerization.


Substoichiometric concentrations of cytochalasin D inhibited the rate of polymerization of actin in 0.5 mM MgCl2, increased its critical concentration and lowered its steady state viscosity. Stoichiometric concentrations of cytochalasin D in 0.5 mM MgCl2 and even substoichiometric concentrations of cytochalasin D in 30 mM KCl, however, accelerated the rate of actin polymerization, although still lowering the final steady state viscosity. Cytochalasin B, at all concentrations in 0.5 mM MgCl2 or in 30 mM KCl, accelerated the rate of polymerization and lowered the final steady state viscosity. In 0.5 mM MgCl2, cytochalasin D uncoupled the actin ATPase activity from actin polymerization, increasing the ATPase rate by at least 20 times while inhibiting polymerization. Cytochalasin B had a very much lower stimulating effect. Neither cytochalasin D nor B affected the actin ATPase activity in 30 mM KCl. The properties of cytochalasin E were intermediate between those of cytochalasin D and B. Cytochalasin D also stimulated the ATPase activity of monomeric actin in the absence of MgCl2 and KCl and, to a much greater extent, stimulated the ATPase activity of monomeric actin below its critical concentration in 0.5 mM MgCl2. Both above and below its critical concentration and in the presence and absence of cytochalasin D, the initial rate of actin ATPase activity, when little or no polymerization had occurred, was directly proportional to the actin concentration and, therefore, apparently was independent of actin-actin interactions. To rationalize all these data, a working model has been proposed in which the first step of actin polymerization is the conversion of monomeric actin-bound ATP, A . ATP, to monomeric actin-bound ADP and Pi, A* . ADP . Pi, which, like the preferred growing end of an actin filament, can bind cytochalasins.

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