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Biochemistry. 1984 Oct 23;23(22):5307-13.

Cofilin, a protein in porcine brain that binds to actin filaments and inhibits their interactions with myosin and tropomyosin.


Cofilin, a 21 000 molecular weight protein of porcine brain, reacts stoichiometrically with actin in a 1:1 molar ratio. Upon binding of cofilin, the fluorescence of pyrene-labeled actin under polymerizing conditions is changed into the monomer form, irrespective of whether cofilin is added to actin before or after polymerization. Cofilin decreases the viscosity of actin filaments but increases the light-scattering intensity of the filaments. The centrifugation assay and the DNase I inhibition assay demonstrate that cofilin binds to actin filaments in a 1:1 molar ratio of cofilin to actin monomer in the filament and that cofilin increases the monomeric actin to a limited extent (up to 1.1-1.5 microM monomer) in the presence of physiological concentrations of Mg2+ and KCl. Cofilin is also able to bind to monomeric actin, as demonstrated by gel filtration. Electron microscopy showed that actin filaments are shortened and slightly thickened in the presence of cofilin. No bundle formation was observed in the presence of various concentrations of cofilin. The gel point assay using an actin cross-linking protein and the nucleation assay also suggested that cofilin shortens the actin filaments and hence increases the filament number. Cofilin blocks the binding of tropomyosin to actin filaments. Tropomyosin is dissociated from actin filaments by the binding of cofilin to actin filaments. Cofilin was found to inhibit the superprecipitation of actin-myosin mixtures as well as the actin-activated myosin ATPase. All these results suggest that cofilin is a new type of actin-associated protein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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