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Multiple crystal structures of actin dimers and their implications for interactions in the actin filament

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      Multiple crystal structures are reported of cross-linked actin dimers. Interactions that are conserved across crystal structures suggest detailed interactions that are likely to be present in F-actin filaments.


      The structure of actin in its monomeric form is known at high resolution, while the structure of filamentous F-actin is only understood at considerably lower resolution. Knowing pre­cisely how the monomers of actin fit together would lead to a deeper understanding of the dynamic behavior of the actin filament. Here, a series of crystal structures of actin dimers are reported which were prepared by cross-linking in either the longitudinal or the lateral direction in the filament state. Laterally cross-linked dimers, comprised of monomers belonging to different protofilaments, are found to adopt configurations in crystals that are not related to the native structure of filamentous actin. In contrast, multiple structures of longitudinal dimers consistently reveal the same interface between monomers within a single protofilament. The re­appearance of the same longitudinal interface in multiple crystal structures adds weight to arguments that the interface visualized is similar to that in actin filaments. Highly conserved atomic interactions involving residues 199–205 and 287–291 are highlighted.

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      Author and article information

      [a ]UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1569, USA
      [b ]UCLA Molecular Biology Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1570, USA
      Author notes
      Correspondence e-mail: yeates@

      These authors contributed equally to the work.

      Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr
      Acta Cryst. D
      Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography
      International Union of Crystallography
      01 April 2008
      19 March 2008
      19 March 2008
      : 64
      : Pt 4 ( publisher-idID: d080400 )
      : 454-465
      ABCRE6 S0907444908003351
      © International Union of Crystallography 2008
      Research Papers

      actin filaments, f-actin, cross-linking


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