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      Cofilin-mediated actin dynamics promotes actin bundle formation during Drosophila bristle development

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          Cofilin, the actin disassembly factor, regulates actin bundle formation by promoting a local reservoir of a high level of G-actin and limiting the size of a distinct actin-myosin network. Cofilin also regulates the positioning of actin bundles in the Drosophila bristle and prevents incorrect assembly of branched actin filaments into bundles.


          The actin bundle is an array of linear actin filaments cross-linked by actin-bundling proteins, but its assembly and dynamics are not as well understood as those of the branched actin network. Here we used the Drosophila bristle as a model system to study actin bundle formation. We found that cofilin, a major actin disassembly factor of the branched actin network, promotes the formation and positioning of actin bundles in the developing bristles. Loss of function of cofilin or AIP1, a cofactor of cofilin, each resulted in increased F-actin levels and severe defects in actin bundle organization, with the defects from cofilin deficiency being more severe. Further analyses revealed that cofilin likely regulates actin bundle formation and positioning by the following means. First, cofilin promotes a large G-actin pool both locally and globally, likely ensuring rapid actin polymerization for bundle initiation and growth. Second, cofilin limits the size of a nonbundled actin-myosin network to regulate the positioning of actin bundles. Third, cofilin prevents incorrect assembly of branched and myosin-associated actin filament into bundles. Together these results demonstrate that the interaction between the dynamic dendritic actin network and the assembling actin bundles is critical for actin bundle formation and needs to be closely regulated.

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          Most cited references 32

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          Pulsed contractions of an actin-myosin network drive apical constriction.

          Apical constriction facilitates epithelial sheet bending and invagination during morphogenesis. Apical constriction is conventionally thought to be driven by the continuous purse-string-like contraction of a circumferential actin and non-muscle myosin-II (myosin) belt underlying adherens junctions. However, it is unclear whether other force-generating mechanisms can drive this process. Here we show, with the use of real-time imaging and quantitative image analysis of Drosophila gastrulation, that the apical constriction of ventral furrow cells is pulsed. Repeated constrictions, which are asynchronous between neighbouring cells, are interrupted by pauses in which the constricted state of the cell apex is maintained. In contrast to the purse-string model, constriction pulses are powered by actin-myosin network contractions that occur at the medial apical cortex and pull discrete adherens junction sites inwards. The transcription factors Twist and Snail differentially regulate pulsed constriction. Expression of snail initiates actin-myosin network contractions, whereas expression of twist stabilizes the constricted state of the cell apex. Our results suggest a new model for apical constriction in which a cortical actin-myosin cytoskeleton functions as a developmentally controlled subcellular ratchet to reduce apical area incrementally.
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            Proteins of the ADF/cofilin family: essential regulators of actin dynamics.

             J Bamburg (1998)
            Ubiquitous among eukaryotes, the ADF/cofilins are essential proteins responsible for the high turnover rates of actin filaments in vivo. In vertebrates, ADF and cofilin are products of different genes. Both bind to F-actin cooperatively and induce a twist in the actin filament that results in the loss of the phalloidin-binding site. This conformational change may be responsible for the enhancement of the off rate of subunits at the minus end of ADF/cofilin-decorated filaments and for the weak filament-severing activity. Binding of ADF/cofilin is competitive with tropomyosin. Other regulatory mechanisms in animal cells include binding of phosphoinositides, phosphorylation by LIM kinases on a single serine, and changes in pH. Although vertebrate ADF/cofilins contain a nuclear localization sequence, they are usually concentrated in regions containing dynamic actin pools, such as the leading edge of migrating cells and neuronal growth cones. ADF/cofilins are essential for cytokinesis, phagocytosis, fluid phase endocytosis, and other cellular processes dependent upon actin dynamics.
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              Actin Depolymerizing Factor (ADF/Cofilin) Enhances the Rate of Filament Turnover: Implication in Actin-based Motility

              Actin-binding proteins of the actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin family are thought to control actin-based motile processes. ADF1 from Arabidopsis thaliana appears to be a good model that is functionally similar to other members of the family. The function of ADF in actin dynamics has been examined using a combination of physical–chemical methods and actin-based motility assays, under physiological ionic conditions and at pH 7.8. ADF binds the ADPbound forms of G- or F-actin with an affinity two orders of magnitude higher than the ATP- or ADP-Pi– bound forms. A major property of ADF is its ability to enhance the in vitro turnover rate (treadmilling) of actin filaments to a value comparable to that observed in vivo in motile lamellipodia. ADF increases the rate of propulsion of Listeria monocytogenes in highly diluted, ADF-limited platelet extracts and shortens the actin tails. These effects are mediated by the participation of ADF in actin filament assembly, which results in a change in the kinetic parameters at the two ends of the actin filament. The kinetic effects of ADF are end specific and cannot be accounted for by filament severing. The main functionally relevant effect is a 25-fold increase in the rate of actin dissociation from the pointed ends, while the rate of dissociation from the barbed ends is unchanged. This large increase in the rate-limiting step of the monomer-polymer cycle at steady state is responsible for the increase in the rate of actin-based motile processes. In conclusion, the function of ADF is not to sequester G-actin. ADF uses ATP hydrolysis in actin assembly to enhance filament dynamics.

                Author and article information

                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Mol Biol Cell
                Mol. Biol. Cell
                Mol. Bio. Cell
                Molecular Biology of the Cell
                The American Society for Cell Biology
                15 August 2016
                : 27
                : 16
                : 2554-2564
                State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and MOE Key Laboratory of Model Animals for Disease Study, Model Animal Research Center, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210061, China
                University of California, Santa Barbara
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to: Jiong Chen ( chenjiong@ ).
                © 2016 Wu et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (

                “ASCB®,” “The American Society for Cell Biology®,” and “Molecular Biology of the Cell®” are registered trademarks of The American Society for Cell Biology.


                Molecular biology


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