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Mechanism of synergistic actin filament pointed end depolymerization by cyclase-associated protein and cofilin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The ability of cells to generate forces through actin filament turnover was an early adaptation in evolution. While much is known about how actin filaments grow, mechanisms of their disassembly are incompletely understood. The best-characterized actin disassembly factors are the cofilin family proteins, which increase cytoskeletal dynamics by severing actin filaments. However, the mechanism by which severed actin filaments are recycled back to monomeric form has remained enigmatic. We report that cyclase-associated-protein (CAP) works in synergy with cofilin to accelerate actin filament depolymerization by nearly 100-fold. Structural work uncovers the molecular mechanism by which CAP interacts with actin filament pointed end to destabilize the interface between terminal actin subunits, and subsequently recycles the newly-depolymerized actin monomer for the next round of filament assembly. These findings establish CAP as a molecular machine promoting rapid actin filament depolymerization and monomer recycling, and explain why CAP is critical for actin-dependent processes in all eukaryotes.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland

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