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    Cellular form and function are controlled by the assembly and stability of actin cytoskeletal structures-but disassembling/pruning these structures is equally essential for the plasticity and remodeling that underlie behavioral adaptations. Importantly, the mechanisms of actin assembly have been well-defined-including that it is driven by actin's polymerization into filaments (F-actin) and then often bundling by crosslinking proteins into stable higher-order structures. In contrast, it remains less clear how these stable bundled F-actin structures are rapidly disassembled. We now uncover mechanisms that rapidly and extensively disassemble bundled F-actin. Using biochemical, structural, and imaging assays with purified proteins, we show that F-actin bundled with one of the most prominent crosslinkers, fascin, is extensively disassembled by Mical, the F-actin disassembly enzyme. Furthermore, the product of this Mical effect, Mical-oxidized actin, is poorly bundled by fascin, thereby further amplifying Mical's disassembly effects on bundled F-actin. Moreover, another critical F-actin regulator, cofilin, also affects fascin-bundled filaments, but we find herein that it synergizes with Mical to dramatically amplify its disassembly of bundled F-actin compared to the sum of their individual effects. Genetic and high-resolution cellular assays reveal that Mical also counteracts crosslinking proteins/bundled F-actin in vivo to control cellular extension, axon guidance, and Semaphorin/Plexin cell-cell repulsion. Yet, our results also support the idea that fascin-bundling serves to dampen Mical's F-actin disassembly in vitro and in vivo-and that physiologically relevant cellular remodeling requires a fine-tuned interplay between the factors that build bundled F-actin networks and those that disassemble them.


    Sudeepa Rajan, Jimok Yoon, Heng Wu, Sargis Srapyan, Raju Baskar, Giasuddin Ahmed, Taehong Yang, Elena E Grintsevich, Emil Reisler, Jonathan R Terman. Disassembly of bundled F-actin and cellular remodeling via an interplay of Mical, cofilin, and F-actin crosslinkers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2023 Sep 26;120(39):e2309955120

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    PMID: 37725655

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