The formins: active scaffolds that remodel the cytoskeleton

Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;13(8):435-46. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(03)00153-3.


Evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotes, formin homology (FH) proteins, or formins, exert their effects on the actin and microtubule (MT) networks during meiosis, mitosis, the maintenance of cell polarity, vesicular trafficking, signaling to the nucleus and embryonic development. Once thought to be only molecular scaffolds that indirectly affected cellular functions through the binding of other proteins, recent in vitro studies have illustrated that they can function as actin nucleators in the formation of new filaments. The connection between formins and MTs is less well understood. In yeast, the MT effects appear to be dependent on the ability of formins to generate polarized actin cables whereas, in mammalian cells, formin signals that cause MT stabilization and polarization might be more direct. A subclass of formins, the Diaphanous-related formins (Drfs), can act as effectors for Rho small GTPases, yet it is not clear what GTPase binding contributes to formin function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Contractile Proteins / physiology
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / physiology
  • Microtubules / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Profilins
  • src-Family Kinases / physiology


  • Actins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • PFN1 protein, human
  • Profilins
  • src-Family Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins