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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rho- and rac-dependent assembly of focal adhesion complexes and actin filaments in permeabilized fibroblasts: an essential role for ezrin/radixin/moesin proteins.

The small GTPases Rho and Rac regulate actin filament assembly and the formation of integrin adhesion complexes to produce stress fibers and lamellipodia, respectively, in mammalian cells. Although numerous candidate effectors that might mediate these responses have been identified using the yeast two-hybrid and affinity purification techniques, their cellular roles remain unclear. We now describe a biological assay that allows components of the Rho and Rac signaling pathways to be identified. Permeabilization of serum-starved Swiss 3T3 cells with digitonin in the presence of guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPgammaS) induces both actin filament and focal adhesion complex assembly through activation of endogenous Rho and Rac. These responses are lost when GTPgammaS is added 6 min after permeabilization, but can be reconstituted using concentrated cytosolic extracts. We have achieved a 10,000-fold purification of the activity present in pig brain cytosol and protein sequence analysis shows it to contain moesin. Using recombinant proteins, we show that moesin and its close relatives ezrin and radixin can reconstitute stress fiber assembly, cortical actin polymerization and focal complex formation in response to activation of Rho and Rac.[1]


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