A novel mechanism for the formation of actin-filament bundles by a nonprocessive formin

Curr Biol. 2006 Oct 10;16(19):1924-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2006.07.054.


Actin-filament bundles (or cables) have a structural role during cell division and morphogenesis, but also serve as important "tracks" for the transport of materials during cytokinesis and polarized cell growth. However, the dynamic formation of these longitudinal actin-filament higher-order structures is not understood. Recently, several lines of evidence suggest that formins provide one avenue for the initiation of actin cables in vivo. A popular model for the mechanism of polymerization of actin filaments by formin involves the processive movement of formin attached at the barbed end of an elongating filament. In the present study, we use an in vitro system to reconstitute the dynamic formation of actin-filament bundles generated by Arabidopsis FORMIN1 (AFH1). To be able to visualize individual events in such a complex system, we used real-time evanescent-wave microscopy. Surprisingly, we find that AFH1 is a nonprocessive formin that moves from the barbed end to the side of an actin filament after the nucleation event. We show why this new mechanism of nucleation by a member of the formin family is important for bundle formation. Finally, we analyze the different parameters controlling the dynamic formation of such longitudinal actin-filament bundles.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / classification
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / analysis
  • Formins
  • Membrane Proteins / classification
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Microfilament Proteins / classification
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Microfilament Proteins / physiology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Biological
  • Rhodamines / analysis


  • AFH1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Formins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Rhodamines