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Although myosin II filaments are known to exist in non-muscle cells, their dynamics and organization are incompletely understood. Here, we combined structured illumination microscopy with pharmacological and genetic perturbations, to study the process of actomyosin cytoskeleton self-organization into arcs and stress fibres. A striking feature of the myosin II filament organization was their 'registered' alignment into stacks, spanning up to several micrometres in the direction orthogonal to the parallel actin bundles. While turnover of individual myosin II filaments was fast (characteristic half-life time 60 s) and independent of actin filament turnover, the process of stack formation lasted a longer time (in the range of several minutes) and required myosin II contractility, as well as actin filament assembly/disassembly and crosslinking (dependent on formin Fmnl3, cofilin1 and α-actinin-4). Furthermore, myosin filament stack formation involved long-range movements of individual myosin filaments towards each other suggesting the existence of attractive forces between myosin II filaments. These forces, possibly transmitted via mechanical deformations of the intervening actin filament network, may in turn remodel the actomyosin cytoskeleton and drive its self-organization.


Shiqiong Hu, Kinjal Dasbiswas, Zhenhuan Guo, Yee-Han Tee, Visalatchi Thiagarajan, Pascal Hersen, Teng-Leong Chew, Samuel A Safran, Ronen Zaidel-Bar, Alexander D Bershadsky. Long-range self-organization of cytoskeletal myosin II filament stacks. Nature cell biology. 2017 Feb;19(2):133-141

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PMID: 28114270

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