Acanthamoeba profilin strongly inhibits in a concentration-dependent fashion the rate and extent of Acanthamoeba actin polymerization in 50 mM KCl. The lag phase is prolonged indicating reduction in the rate of nucleus formation. The elongation rates at both the barbed and pointed ends of growing filaments are inhibited. At steady state, profilin increases the critical concentration for polymerization but has no effect on the reduced viscosity above the critical concentration. Addition of profilin to polymerized actin causes it to depolymerize until a new steady-state, dependent on profilin concentration, is achieved. These effects of profilin can be explained by the formation of a 1:1 complex with actin with a dissociation constant of 1 to 4 microM. MgCl2 strongly inhibits these effects of profilin, most likely by binding to the high-affinity divalent cation site on the actin. Acanthamoeba profilin has similar but weaker effects on muscle actin, requiring 5 to 10 times more profilin than with amoeba actin.

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