Discovery of an F-actin-binding small molecule serving as a fluorescent probe and a scaffold for functional probes

Sci Adv. 2021 Nov 19;7(47):eabg8585. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abg8585. Epub 2021 Nov 19.


Actin is a ubiquitous cytoskeletal protein, forming a dynamic network that generates mechanical forces in the cell. There is a growing demand for practical and accessible tools for dissecting the role of the actin cytoskeleton in cellular function, and the discovery of a new actin-binding small molecule is an important advance in the field, offering the opportunity to design and synthesize of new class of functional molecules. Here, we found an F-actin–binding small molecule and introduced two powerful tools based on a new class of actin-binding small molecule: One enables visualization of the actin cytoskeleton, including super-resolution imaging, and the other enables highly specific green light–controlled fragmentation of actin filaments, affording unprecedented control of the actin cytoskeleton and its force network in living cells.