Actin Dynamics and Endocytic Trafficking

Wed, 12/19/2012 - 15:52

Actin is a ubiquitous and an essential component of the cytoskeleton, with critical roles in a wide range of cellular processes. It is abundant protein whose monomers polymerize into polarized actin filaments, within epithelial cells. Filamentous actin is concentrated at the plasma membrane where a wide variety of actin-associated proteins harness the potential and structure of actin filaments to moderate functions at the plasma membrane (1).

IHC analysis of Actin in human tonsil tissue IHC analysis of Actin in human tonsil tissue

These functions include structural support of the plasma membrane, cell polarity, membrane protein distribution and activity and enhancing membrane vesicle trafficking. The bulk of actin dynamics in cells is thought to contribute to architecture and mobility. Actin also contributes to trafficking, acting as a molecular scaffold, providing force to deform membranes, facilitating vesicle abscission or propelling a vesicle through the cytoplasm. Recent studies highlight important connections between the directed trafficking of receptors and the impact on cell migration and actin dynamics. The unexpected roles of actin in membrane traffic suggest that the cell dedicates a significant proportion of its regulation of actin dynamics to controlling trafficking (2) and is an interesting area of research.

  1. PMID: 23076144
  2. PMID: 11260520

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