Cell Biology

Actin Up

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  02 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6060, pp. 1184
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6060.1184-b

Microtubule-based transport of intracellular vesicles is important in a variety of cellular processes. The role of actin-based vesicular transport, however, is less well established. Schuh looked at the mechanisms of vesicular transport within mouse oocytes and describes how actin can promote long-distance multidimensional transport independent of microtubules in this large cell system. Vesicles were observed by live cell imaging to recruit actin nucleation factors, which, in turn, allowed vesicles to generate an extended actin network connected to the plasma membrane. Vesicles could then move through the network using the molecular motor myosin Vb. As vesicles were “consumed” by fusion with the plasma membrane at the cell periphery, further vesicles were drawn outward along the actin network, leading to a net outward flux of vesicles. The extent to which similar mechanisms are used in other cell systems remains unclear, but the flexibility provided by this sort of self-generated network could potentially complement microtubule-based transport.

Nat. Cell Biol. 13, 10.1038/ncb2353 (2011).

Navigate This Article