Co-ordinate regulation of the cytoskeleton in 3T3 cells overexpressing thymosin-beta4

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1997;38(2):187-200. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0169(1997)38:2<187::AID-CM7>3.0.CO;2-4.


In several cell types, short-term increases in the concentration of the G-actin-sequestering peptide thymosin-beta4 (Tbeta4) cause the disassembly of F-actin bundles. To determine the extent of cell adaptability to these reductions in F-actin, we overexpressed Tbeta4 in NIH 3T3 cells. In cell lines with Tbeta4 levels twice those of vector controls, G-actin increased approximately twofold as expected. However, F-actin did not decrease as in short-term experiments but rather also increased approximately twofold so that the G-F ratio remained constant. Surprisingly, the cytoskeletal proteins myosin IIA, alpha-actinin, and tropomyosin also increased nearly twofold. These increases were specific; DNA, total protein, lactic dehydrogenase, profilin, and actin depolymerizing factor levels were unchanged in the overexpressing cells. The Tbeta4 lines spread more fully and adhered to the dish more strongly than vector controls; this altered phenotype correlated with a twofold increase in talin and alpha5-integrin and a nearly threefold increase in vinculin. Focal adhesions, detected by indirect immunofluorescence with antivinculin, were increased in size over the controls. Northern blotting showed that mRNAs for both beta-actin and vinculin were increased twofold in the overexpressing lines. We conclude that 1) NIH 3T3 cells adapt to increased levels of G-actin sequestered by increased Tbeta4 by increasing their total actin so that the F-actin/G-actin ratio remains constant; 2) these cells coordinately increase several cytoskeletal and adhesion plaque proteins; and 3) at least for actin and vinculin, this regulation is at the transcriptional level. We therefore propose that the proteins of this multimember interacting complex making up the actin-based cytoskeleton, are coordinately regulated by factors that control the expression of several proteins. The mechanism may bear similarities to the control of synthesis of another multimember interacting complex, the myofibril of developing muscle cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • Actinin / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Contractile Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Integrin alpha5
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Profilins
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Talin / metabolism
  • Thymosin / metabolism
  • Thymosin / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Transfection
  • Tropomyosin / metabolism
  • Vinculin / metabolism
  • Wound Healing


  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • Actins
  • Antigens, CD
  • Contractile Proteins
  • Integrin alpha5
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Pfn1 protein, mouse
  • Profilins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Talin
  • Tropomyosin
  • Actinin
  • Vinculin
  • thymosin beta(4)
  • Thymosin
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Myosins