Mechanism of Actin-Based Motility

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Science  25 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5521, pp. 1502-1506
DOI: 10.1126/science.1059975

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Spatially controlled polymerization of actin is at the origin of cell motility and is responsible for the formation of cellular protrusions like lamellipodia. The pathogens Listeria monocytogenes and Shigella flexneri, which undergo actin-based propulsion, are acknowledged models of the leading edge of lamellipodia. Actin-based motility of the bacteria or of functionalized microspheres can be reconstituted in vitro from only five pure proteins. Movement results from the regulated site-directed treadmilling of actin filaments, consistent with observations of actin dynamics in living motile cells and with the biochemical properties of the components of the synthetic motility medium.

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