Actin-mediated Gene Expression in Neurons: The MRTF-SRF Connection

Biol Chem. 2010 Jun;391(6):591-7. doi: 10.1515/BC.2010.061.


The traditional view of cellular actin is a rather autarkic cytoskeletal framework function confined to the cytoplasm. However, there is now evidence that alterations in actin dynamics are sensed by the nucleus and subsequently modulate gene expression. In communicating with the nucleus, cytoplasmic, and most likely also nucleus-resident actin, provides a further (gene) regulatory loop to cell motility. A transcription module composed of MRTF (myocardin-related transcription factor) and SRF (serum response factor) emerges as prime target of such actin signaling. Here, I focus on the nervous system, where the actin-MRTF-SRF entity governs multiple aspects of neuronal motility.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Neurites / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Serum Response Factor / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Serum Response Factor
  • Transcription Factors