PerspectiveCell Biology

Gett'N-WASP Stripes

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Science  10 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6010, pp. 1491-1492
DOI: 10.1126/science.1199920

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Sarcomeres, the smallest contractile units of striated muscle cells, have regular structures, but are constantly renewing their filaments. It has been difficult, however, to explain how the tens of thousands of sarcomeres present in many muscle cells carry out the apparently incompatible tasks of performing contractile work while rebuilding their machinery. On page 1536 of this issue, Takano et al. (1) identify a new player in the process: N-WASP, a protein involved in regulating the assembly of muscle actin filaments. The finding could help researchers better understand muscle cell enlargement (hypertrophy) and muscle-related disease.