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Gene Review

arp-6  -  Protein ARP-6

Caenorhabditis elegans

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High impact information on actin

  • In hair cells of the inner ear, evidence suggests that an extracellular tip link pulls on a channel, which attached intracellularly to actin via a tension-regulating myosin 1beta [1].
  • Recent insights from this system have determined the involvement in morphogenesis of key proteins, including the actin-regulating WASP and Ena proteins, potential guidance molecules such as the Eph and Robo receptors, and the cell-cell signaling proteins of the Wnt pathway [2].
  • Sperm from nematodes use a major sperm protein (MSP) cytoskeleton in place of an actin cytoskeleton to drive their ameboid locomotion [3].
  • They lack an axoneme or the actin and myosins of other types of motile cells, but their pseudopods contain abundant major sperm protein (MSP), a family of 14-kD polypeptides found exclusively in male gametes [4].
  • ERM proteins regulate cell morphology and plasma membrane dynamics by reversibly anchoring actin filaments to integral plasma membrane proteins [5].

Biological context of actin

  • RNA interference of Ce-kettin caused weak disorganization of the actin filaments in body wall muscle [6].
  • Although the model refers primarily to the locomotion of nematode sperm, it has important implications for the mechanics of actin-based cell motility [7].
  • The FOZI-1 protein displays a highly unusual domain architecture, that combines two functionally essential C2H2 zinc-finger domains, which are probably involved in transcriptional regulation, with a formin homology 2 (FH2) domain, normally found only in cytosolic regulators of the actin cytoskeleton [8].
  • Here, we performed a detailed characterization of the pha-2 phenotype using cell-type-specific reporters, physical manipulation of the nuclei in pharyngeal muscle cells using "optical tweezers", electron microscopy, staining of the actin cytoskeleton as well as phenotypic rescue and ectopic expression experiments [9].
  • Thus, filament polarity and on-filament ATP hydrolysis, although essential for actin-based motility, appear to be unnecessary for membrane protrusions by MSP [10].

Anatomical context of actin

  • However, rather than employing an actin cytoskeleton to generate locomotion, nematode sperm use the major sperm protein (MSP) [7].
  • The major sperm protein (MSP) is the central cytoskeletal element required for actin-independent motility of nematode spermatozoa [11].
  • We also demonstrate that an interaction between MIG-10 and UNC-34, a protein that promotes actin-filament extension, is important in the response to guidance cues and that MIG-10 colocalizes with actin in cultured cells, where it can induce the formation of lamellipodia [12].
  • In nematode sperm cell motility, major sperm protein (MSP) filament assembly results in dynamic membrane protrusions in a manner that closely resembles actin-based motility in other eukaryotic cells [10].
  • The reconstitution of filopodial extension shows that, like the actin cytoskeleton, MSP filaments can adopt two architectures, bundles and meshworks, each capable of pushing against membranes to generate protrusion [13].

Other interactions of actin

  • Moreover, nematode sperm lack detectable molecular motors or the battery of actin-binding proteins that characterize actin-based motility [7].
  • The increased synthesis of forms of myosin, actin and troponin in the nematode living in the rapid-responder SWR host may relate to the attempted reorganisation or repair of the cytoskeleton and/or muscle layer in the host immune initiated, increased mucus production and smooth muscle activity within intestinal environment [14].
  • Sperm of the nematode, Ascaris suum, are amoeboid cells that do not require actin or myosin to crawl over solid substrata [15].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of actin


  1. The molecules of mechanosensation. Garcia-Anoveros, J., Corey, D.P. Annu. Rev. Neurosci. (1997) [Pubmed]
  2. Actin-based forces driving embryonic morphogenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Marston, D.J., Goldstein, B. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
  3. Hydrostatic pressure shows that lamellipodial motility in Ascaris sperm requires membrane-associated major sperm protein filament nucleation and elongation. Roberts, T.M., Salmon, E.D., Stewart, M. J. Cell Biol. (1998) [Pubmed]
  4. A unique cytoskeleton associated with crawling in the amoeboid sperm of the nematode, Ascaris suum. Sepsenwol, S., Ris, H., Roberts, T.M. J. Cell Biol. (1989) [Pubmed]
  5. The Nck-interacting kinase phosphorylates ERM proteins for formation of lamellipodium by growth factors. Baumgartner, M., Sillman, A.L., Blackwood, E.M., Srivastava, J., Madson, N., Schilling, J.W., Wright, J.H., Barber, D.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2006) [Pubmed]
  6. Caenorhabditis elegans kettin, a large immunoglobulin-like repeat protein, binds to filamentous actin and provides mechanical stability to the contractile apparatuses in body wall muscle. Ono, K., Yu, R., Mohri, K., Ono, S. Mol. Biol. Cell (2006) [Pubmed]
  7. How nematode sperm crawl. Bottino, D., Mogilner, A., Roberts, T., Stewart, M., Oster, G. J. Cell. Sci. (2002) [Pubmed]
  8. An unusual Zn-finger/FH2 domain protein controls a left/right asymmetric neuronal fate decision in C. elegans. Johnston, R.J., Copeland, J.W., Fasnacht, M., Etchberger, J.F., Liu, J., Honig, B., Hobert, O. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  9. Misexpression of acetylcholinesterases in the C. elegans pha-2 mutant accompanies ultrastructural defects in pharyngeal muscle cells. Mörck, C., Axäng, C., Goksör, M., Pilon, M. Dev. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  10. Nematode sperm motility: nonpolar filament polymerization mediated by end-tracking motors. Dickinson, R.B., Purich, D.L. Biophys. J. (2007) [Pubmed]
  11. C. elegans sperm bud vesicles to deliver a meiotic maturation signal to distant oocytes. Kosinski, M., McDonald, K., Schwartz, J., Yamamoto, I., Greenstein, D. Development (2005) [Pubmed]
  12. UNC-6/netrin and SLT-1/slit guidance cues orient axon outgrowth mediated by MIG-10/RIAM/lamellipodin. Quinn, C.C., Pfeil, D.S., Chen, E., Stovall, E.L., Harden, M.V., Gavin, M.K., Forrester, W.C., Ryder, E.F., Soto, M.C., Wadsworth, W.G. Curr. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  13. Reconstitution in vitro of MSP-based filopodium extension in nematode sperm. Miao, L., Yi, K., Mackey, J.M., Roberts, T.M. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton (2007) [Pubmed]
  14. Plasticity demonstrated in the proteome of a parasitic nematode within the intestine of different host strains. Morgan, C., LaCourse, E.J., Rushbrook, B.J., Greetham, D., Hamilton, J.V., Barrett, J., Bailey, K., Brophy, P.M. Proteomics (2006) [Pubmed]
  15. Supramolecular assemblies of the Ascaris suum major sperm protein (MSP) associated with amoeboid cell motility. King, K.L., Stewart, M., Roberts, T.M. J. Cell. Sci. (1994) [Pubmed]
  16. The development and evolution of actin-containing organelles during spermiogenesis of a primitive nematode. Noury-Sraïri, N., Gourbault, N., Justine, J.L. Biol. Cell (1993) [Pubmed]
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