Slow down of actin depolymerization by cross-linking molecules

Kurt M. Schmoller, Christine Semmrich, Andreas R. Bausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The ability to control the assembly and disassembly dynamics of actin filaments is an essential property of the cellular cytoskeleton. While many different proteins are known which accelerate the polymerization of monomers into filaments or promote their disintegration, much less is known on mechanisms which guarantee the kinetic stability of the cytoskeletal filaments. Previous studies indicate that cross-linking molecules might fulfill these stabilizing tasks, which in addition facilitates their ability to regulate the organization of cytoskeletal structures in vivo. The effect of depolymerization factors on such structures or the mechanism which leads finally to their disintegration remain unknown. Here, we use multiple depolymerization methods in order to directly demonstrate that cross-linking and bundling proteins effectively suppress the actin depolymerization in a concentration dependent manner. Even the actin depolymerizing factor cofilin is not sufficient to facilitate a fast disintegration of highly cross-linked actin networks unless molecular motors are used simultaneously. The drastic modification of actin kinetics by cross-linking molecules can be expected to have wide-ranging implications for our understanding of the cytoskeleton, where cross-linking molecules are omnipresent and essential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Structural Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Actin
  • Bundle
  • Cofilin
  • Cross-linker
  • Depolymerization
  • Latrunculin B
  • Molecular motor


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