Actin nucleation and elongation factors: mechanisms and interplay

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2009 Feb;21(1):28-37. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Jan 23.


Cells require actin nucleators to catalyze the de novo assembly of filaments and actin elongation factors to control the rate and extent of polymerization. Nucleation and elongation factors identified to date include Arp2/3 complex, formins, Ena/VASP, and newcomers Spire, Cobl, and Lmod. Here, we discuss recent advances in understanding their activities and mechanisms and new evidence for their cooperation and interaction in vivo. Earlier models had suggested that different nucleators function independently to assemble distinct actin arrays. However, more recent observations indicate that the construction of most cellular actin networks depends on the activities of multiple actin assembly-promoting factors working in concert.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*


  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex
  • Actins
  • Microfilament Proteins