Actin cross-linking proteins are important for formation of isotropic F-actin networks and anisotropic bundles of filaments in the cytoplasm of eucaryotic cells. A 34,000-D protein from the cellular slime mold Dictyostelium discoideum mediates formation of actin bundles in vitro, and is specifically incorporated into filopodia. The actin cross-linking activity of this protein is inhibited by the presence of micromolar calcium. A 27,000-D fragment obtained by digestion with alpha-chymotrypsin lacks the amino-terminal six amino acids and the carboxyl-terminal 7,000 D of the intact polypeptide. The 27,000-D fragment retains F-actin binding activity assessed by cosedimentation assays and by 125I-[F-actin] blot overlay technique, F-actin cross-linking activity as assessed by viscometry, and calcium binding activity. Ultrastructural analyses indicate that the 27,000-D fragment is deficient in the bundling activity characteristic of the intact 34,000-D protein. Actin filaments are aggregated into microdomains but not bundle in the presence of the 27,000-D fragment. A polarized light scattering assay was used to demonstrate that the 34,000-D protein increases the orientational correlation among F-actin filaments. The 27,000-D fragment does not increase the orientation of the actin filaments as assessed by this technique. A terminal segment(s) of the 34,000-D protein, lacking in the 27,000-D fragment, contributes significantly to the ability to cross-link actin filaments into bundles.

This content is only available as a PDF.