Incompatibility with formin Cdc12p prevents human profilin from substituting for fission yeast profilin: insights from crystal structures of fission yeast profilin

J Biol Chem. 2009 Jan 23;284(4):2088-97. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807073200. Epub 2008 Nov 20.


Expression of human profilin-I does not complement the temperature-sensitive cdc3-124 mutation of the single profilin gene in fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, resulting in death from cytokinesis defects. Human profilin-I and S. pombe profilin have similar affinities for actin monomers, the FH1 domain of fission yeast formin Cdc12p and poly-L-proline (Lu, J., and Pollard, T. D. (2001) Mol. Biol. Cell 12, 1161-1175), but human profilin-I does not stimulate actin filament elongation by formin Cdc12p like S. pombe profilin. Two crystal structures of S. pombe profilin and homology models of S. pombe profilin bound to actin show how the two profilins bind to identical surfaces on animal and yeast actins even though 75% of the residues on the profilin side of the interaction differ in the two profilins. Overexpression of human profilin-I in fission yeast expressing native profilin also causes cytokinesis defects incompatible with viability. Human profilin-I with the R88E mutation has no detectable affinity for actin and does not have this dominant overexpression phenotype. The Y6D mutation reduces the affinity of human profilin-I for poly-l-proline by 1000-fold, but overexpression of Y6D profilin in fission yeast is lethal. The most likely hypotheses to explain the incompatibility of human profilin-I with Cdc12p are differences in interactions with the proline-rich sequences in the FH1 domain of Cdc12p and wider "wings" that interact with actin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cattle
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates / metabolism
  • Profilins / chemistry*
  • Profilins / genetics
  • Profilins / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Schizosaccharomyces / chemistry*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism*
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / chemistry*
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / genetics
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Structural Homology, Protein
  • Temperature


  • Actins
  • Cdc12 protein, S pombe
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Phosphatidylinositol Phosphates
  • Profilins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins
  • cdc3 protein, S pombe

Associated data

  • PDB/3D9Y
  • PDB/3DAV