The centrosome is an actin-organizing centre

Nat Cell Biol. 2016 Jan;18(1):65-75. doi: 10.1038/ncb3285. Epub 2015 Dec 14.


Microtubules and actin filaments are the two main cytoskeleton networks supporting intracellular architecture and cell polarity. The centrosome nucleates and anchors microtubules and is therefore considered to be the main microtubule-organizing centre. However, recurring, yet unexplained, observations have pointed towards a connection between the centrosome and actin filaments. Here we have used isolated centrosomes to demonstrate that the centrosome can directly promote actin-filament assembly. A cloud of centrosome-associated actin filaments could be identified in living cells as well. Actin-filament nucleation at the centrosome was mediated by the nucleation-promoting factor WASH in combination with the Arp2/3 complex. Pericentriolar material 1 (PCM1) seemed to modulate the centrosomal actin network by regulating Arp2/3 complex and WASH recruitment to the centrosome. Hence, our results reveal an additional facet of the centrosome as an intracellular organizer and provide mechanistic insights into how the centrosome can function as an actin-filament-organizing centre.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / metabolism*


  • Actin-Related Protein 2-3 Complex
  • Actins