How different proteins affect the cytoskeleton – the cell's dynamic inner scaffolding
Inside every cell is a dynamic biological scaffold called the cytoskeleton, which needs to rapidly react and remodel itself as a cell changes shape to move or divide. The struts of the cytoskeleton are made from small, blobby actin proteins that self-assemble into long chains known as filaments, which grow and shrink as actin molecules are added or removed. These fine actin filaments form two different types of structures inside cells: thick, sturdy cables in the presence of a protein called WASp or spidery networks if formin proteins are nearby. However, much less is known about the role of another protein known as Arp2/3. Gradually increasing the amounts of Arp2/3 in the mix trigger the growth of WASp-based chunky cables (top row left to right) but have no effect on the spindly formin formations (bottom), revealing important insights into the molecular builders responsible for constructing the cytoskeleton’s component parts.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.