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J Biol Chem. 1980 Feb 10;255(3):835-8.

Cytochalasins block actin filament elongation by binding to high affinity sites associated with F-actin.


We have found that addition of a small amount of filamentous muscle actin (F-actin) to a solution of globular actin (G-actin) in a low ionic strength medium resulted in rapid polymerization of the G-actin. This reaction was inhibited by substoichiometric levels of cytochalasins (relative potency: cytochalasin D greater than cytochalasin E approximately equal to cytochalasin B greater than dihydrocytochalasin B). Binding experiments show that F-actin, but not G-actin, contains high affinity binding sites for [3H]cytochalasin B; the number of sites detected was on the order of about one per actin filament (one site/500 actin monomers). This number remained unchanged when the actin (prepared by polymerization-depolymerization cycles) was further purified by ion exchange and gel filtration chromatography. Competitive displacement experiments showed that the relative affinity of several cytochalasins for these sites corresponds to their relative effectiveness in inhibiting actin polymerization induced by F-actin. These results suggest that actin filaments can accelerate the rate of polymerization of G-actin in low ionic strength medium by providing sites onto which actin monomers can be added, and that cytochalasins inhibit actin filament elongation by binding to high affinity sites located at the polymerization end of the filaments.

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