PerspectiveStructural Biology

Actin' Up

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Science  27 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5530, pp. 616-618
DOI: 10.1126/science.1063558

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The assembly of actin filaments through the polymerization of actin monomers must be fine-tuned by the cell. In a Perspective, De La Cruz and Pollard explain exciting new findings ( Otterbein et al.) showing that ATP hydrolysis and release of a phosphate group results in one segment of actin switching from a strand to a helical conformation. This conformation change favors the interaction of certain regulatory proteins--which regulate both actin polymerization and filament disassembly--with actin monomers and filaments.