The Actin Cytoskeleton and Actin-Based Motility

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2018 Jan 2;10(1):a018267. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a018267.


The actin cytoskeleton-a collection of actin filaments with their accessory and regulatory proteins-is the primary force-generating machinery in the cell. It can produce pushing (protrusive) forces through coordinated polymerization of multiple actin filaments or pulling (contractile) forces through sliding actin filaments along bipolar filaments of myosin II. Both force types are particularly important for whole-cell migration, but they also define and change the cell shape and mechanical properties of the cell surface, drive the intracellular motility and morphogenesis of membrane organelles, and allow cells to form adhesions with each other and with the extracellular matrix.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / chemistry
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Actins / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Movement*
  • Humans
  • Morphogenesis
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Myosin Type II / chemistry
  • Myosin Type II / physiology
  • Phagocytosis


  • Actins
  • Myosin Type II