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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1992;23(2):133-44.

Cap100, a novel phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate-regulated protein that caps actin filaments but does not nucleate actin assembly.

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Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry, Martinsried, Federal Republic of Germany.


The fast and transient polymerization of actin in nonmuscle cells after stimulation with chemoattractants requires strong nucleation activities but also components that inhibit this process in resting cells. In this paper, we describe the purification and characterization of a new actin-binding protein from Dictyostelium discoideum that exhibited strong F-actin capping activity but did not nucleate actin assembly independently of the Ca2+ concentration. These properties led at physiological salt conditions to an inhibition of actin polymerization at a molar ratio of capping protein to actin below 1:1,000. The protein is a monomer, with a molecular mass of approximately 100 kDa, and is present in growing and in developing amoebae. Based on its F-actin capping function and its apparent molecular weight, we designated this monomeric protein cap100. As shown by dilution-induced depolymerization and by elongation assays, cap100 capped the barbed ends of actin filaments and did not sever F-actin. In agreement with its capping activity, cap100 increased the critical concentration for actin polymerization. In excitation or emission scans of pyrene-labeled G-actin, the fluorescence was increased in the presence of cap100. This suggests a G-actin binding activity for cap100. The capping activity could be completely inhibited by phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2), and bound cap100 could be removed by PIP2. The inhibition by phosphatidylinositol and the Ca(2+)-independent down-regulation of spontaneous actin polymerization indicate that cap100 plays a role in balancing the G- and F-actin pools of a resting cell. In the cytoplasm, the equilibrium would be shifted towards G-actin, but, below the membrane where F-actin is required, this activity would be inhibited by PIP2.

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