Actin polymerization is activated by terahertz irradiation

Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 3;8(1):9990. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-28245-9.


Polymerization of monomeric actin into filaments has pivotal roles in cell motility, growth, differentiation, and gene expression. Therefore, techniques of manipulating actin polymerization, including actin-binding chemicals, have been developed for understanding and regulating multiple biological functions. Here, we demonstrate that irradiation with terahertz (THz) waves is a novel method of modulating actin polymerization. When actin polymerization reaction is performed under irradiation with 0.46 THz waves generated by a Gyrotron, actin polymerization was observed to be activated by monitoring the fluorescence of pyrene actin fluorophores. We also observed the number of actin filaments under a fluorescence microscope using the polymerized actin probe SiR-actin. The number of actin filaments was increased by 3.5-fold after THz irradiation for 20 min. When the THz irradiation was applied to a steady-state actin solution, in which elongation and depolymerization of actin filaments were equilibrated, increased actin polymerization was observed, suggesting that the THz irradiation activates actin polymerization, at least in the elongation process. These results suggest that THz waves could be applied for manipulating biomolecules and cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Actins / physiology
  • Actins / radiation effects*
  • Animals
  • Cell Movement
  • Kinetics
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Polymerization / radiation effects*
  • Protein Binding
  • Rabbits
  • Terahertz Radiation


  • Actins