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J Cell Biol. 1997 Mar 24;136(6):1263-70.

beta-Actin messenger RNA localization and protein synthesis augment cell motility.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester 01655, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Cell Biol 1997 Jun 30;137(7):1683.


In chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs), beta-actin mRNA localizes near an actin-rich region of cytoplasm specialized for motility, the lamellipodia. This localization is mediated by isoform-specific 3'-untranslated sequences (zipcodes) and can be inhibited by antizipcode oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) (Kislauskis, E.H., X.-C. Zhu, and R.H. Singer. 1994. J. Cell Biol. 127: 441-451). This inhibition of beta-actin mRNA localization resulted in the disruption of fibroblast polarity and, presumably, cell motility. To investigate the role of beta-actin mRNA in motility, we correlated time-lapse images of moving CEFs with the distribution of beta-actin mRNA in these cells. CEFs with localized beta-actin mRNA moved significantly further over the same time period than did CEFs with nonlocalized mRNA. Antizipcode ODN treatment reduced this cell translocation while control ODN treatments showed no effect. The temporal relationship of beta-actin mRNA localization to cell translocation was investigated using serum addition to serum-deprived cultures. beta-actin mRNA was not localized in serum-deprived cells but became localized within minutes after serum addition (Latham, V.M., E.H. Kislauskis, R.H. Singer, and A.F. Ross. 1994. J. Cell Biol. 126:1211-1219). Cell translocation increased over the next 90 min, and actin synthesis likewise increased. Puromycin reduced this cell translocation and blocked this induction in cytosolic actin content. The serum induction of cell movement was also inhibited by antizipcode ODNs. These observations support the hypothesis that beta-actin mRNA localization and consequent protein synthesis augment cell motility.

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