Members of the formin family of actin filament nucleation factors have been implicated in sarcomere formation, but precisely how these proteins affect sarcomere structure remains poorly understood. Of six formins in the simple nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, only FHOD-1 and CYK-1 contribute to sarcomere assembly in the worm's obliquely striated body-wall muscles. We analyze here the ultrastructure of body-wall muscle sarcomeres in worms with putative null fhod-1 and cyk-1 gene mutations. Contrary to a simple model that formins nucleate actin for thin filament assembly, formin mutant sarcomeres contain thin filaments. Rather, formin mutant sarcomeres are narrower and have deformed thin filament-anchoring Z-line structures. Thus, formins affect multiple aspects of sarcomere structure.
Keywords: C. elegans; Formin; Muscle; Sarcomere; Thin filament; Z-line.