The Arp2/3 complex is a ubiquitous and essential component of the actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotic cells. It nucleates actin filaments, caps their pointed ends and cross-links them into orthogonal networks. In amoeba, vertebrates and fungi, the complex consists of actin-related proteins Arp2 and Arp3 and individual copies of five novel polypeptides. The Arps are thought to mediate pointed-end capping and nucleation. Chemical cross-linking implicates three subunits in binding the complex to the side of another actin filament.