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FEBS Lett. 1993 Aug 9;328(1-2):71-6.

The 100 kDa F-actin capping protein of Dictyostelium amoebae is a villin prototype ('protovillin').

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Institute for Cell Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany.


The 100 kDa actin-binding protein from Dictyostelium amoebae is an F-actin capping protein that displays neither severing nor crosslinking nor nucleating activities [Hofmann et al. (1992) Cell Motil. Cytoskel. 23,133-144]. Cloning and sequencing of the gene revealed that the protein is highly homologous to vertebrate villin, a unique component of brush border microvilli and contains six domains fused to a villin-like headpiece domain via a threonine/proline rich neck region. The functional differences and similarities between the 100 kDa protein and villin are reflected in the amino acid sequences. We draw from the data the following conclusions. (i) The presence of a six domain protein in Dictyostelium suggests that in contrast to the current view gene duplications must have happened before Dictyostelium branched off during evolution. (ii) The villin-like molecule in Dictyostelium appears to be a premature villin ('protovillin') which is able to cap actin filaments but still lacks the other villin-type actin-binding activities. This renders capping of actin filaments as the evolutionarily oldest function of an F-actin binding protein.

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