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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1995;32(1):1-9.

Fascins, a family of actin bundling proteins.

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Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Fascin is an actin-bundling protein that was first isolated from cytoplasmic extracts of sea urchin eggs [Kane, 1975: J. Cell Biol. 66:305-315] and was the first bundling protein to be characterized in vitro. Subsequent work has shown that fascin bundles actin filaments in fertilized egg microvilli and filopodia of phagocytic coelomocytes [Otto et al., 1980: Cell Motil. 1:31-40; Otto and Bryan, 1981: Cell Motil. 1:179-192]. Fifteen years later, the molecular cloning of sea urchin fascin [Bryan et al., 1993: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 90:9115-9119] has led to the identification and characterization of homologous proteins in Drosophila [Cant et al., 1994: J. Cell Biol. 125:369-380], Xenopus [Holthuis et al., 1994: Biochim. Biophys. Acta. 1219:184-188], rodents [Edwards et al,. 1995: J. Biol. Chem. 270:10764-10770], and humans [Duh et al., 1994: DNA Cell Biol. 13:821-827; Mosialos et al., 1994: J. Virol. 68:7320-7328] that bundle actin filaments into structures which stabilize cellular processes ranging from mechanosensory bristles to the filopodia of nerve growth cones. Fascin has emerged from relative obscurity as an exotic invertebrate egg protein to being recognized as a widely expressed protein found in a broad spectrum of tissues and organisms. The purpose of this review is to relate the early studies done on the sea urchin and HeLa cell fascins to the recent molecular biology that defines a family of bundling proteins, and discuss the current state of knowledge regarding fascin structure and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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