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Biophysical Reviews

Kevin Wilson
Tom Pollard has played an instrumental role in the creation of the life science policy and advocacy programs familiar to life scientists today. This article reviews the creation of that program and the role Tom played. In addition, it briefly discusses advocacy activities now available to life scientists and why they should participate in these activities.
December 3, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Enrique M De La Cruz, Laurent Blanchoin, E Michael Ostap
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 28, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
R Dyche Mullins, Peter Bieling, Daniel A Fletcher
The actin cytoskeleton comprises a set of filament networks that perform essential functions in eukaryotic cells. The idea that actin filaments incorporate monomers directly from solution forms both the "textbook picture" of filament elongation and a conventional starting point for quantitative modeling of cellular actin dynamics. Recent work, however, reveals that filaments created by two major regulators, the formins and the Arp2/3 complex, incorporate monomers delivered by nearby proteins. Specifically, actin enters Arp2/3-generated networks via binding sites on nucleation-promoting factors clustered on membrane surfaces...
November 23, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Ikuko Fujiwara, Shuichi Takeda, Toshiro Oda, Hajime Honda, Akihiro Narita, Yuichiro Maéda
Polymerization induces hydrolysis of ATP bound to actin, followed by γ-phosphate release, which helps advance the disassembly of actin filaments into ADP-G-actin. Mechanical understanding of this correlation between actin assembly and ATP hydrolysis has been an object of intensive studies in biochemistry and structural biology for many decades. Although actin polymerization and depolymerization occur only at either the barbed or pointed ends and the kinetic and equilibrium properties are substantially different from each other, characterizing their properties is difficult to do by bulk assays, as these assays report the average of all actin filaments in solution and are therefore not able to discern the properties of individual actin filaments...
November 20, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Ben O'Shaughnessy, Sathish Thiyagarajan
The contractile ring is a remarkable tension-generating cellular machine that constricts and divides cells into two during cytokinesis, the final stage of the cell cycle. Since the ring's discovery, the parallels with muscle have been emphasized. Both are contractile actomyosin machineries, and long ago, a muscle-like sliding filament mechanism was proposed for the ring. This review focuses on the mechanisms that generate ring tension and constrict contractile rings. The emphasis is on fission yeast, whose contractile ring is sufficiently well characterized that realistic mathematical models are feasible, and possible lessons from fission yeast that may apply to animal cells are discussed...
November 19, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Peter J Carman, Roberto Dominguez
Actin filament assembly typically occurs in association with cellular membranes. A large number of proteins sit at the interface between actin networks and membranes, playing diverse roles such as initiation of actin polymerization, modulation of membrane curvature, and signaling. Bin/Amphiphysin/Rvs (BAR) domain proteins have been implicated in all of these functions. The BAR domain family of proteins comprises a diverse group of multi-functional effectors, characterized by their modular architecture. In addition to the membrane-curvature sensing/inducing BAR domain module, which also mediates antiparallel dimerization, most contain auxiliary domains implicated in protein-protein and/or protein-membrane interactions, including SH3, PX, PH, RhoGEF, and RhoGAP domains...
November 19, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Kenneth S Gerien, Jian-Qiu Wu
In this review, we discuss the molecular mechanisms of cytokinesis from plants to humans, with a focus on contribution of membrane trafficking to cytokinesis. Selection of the division site in fungi, metazoans, and plants is reviewed, as well as the assembly and constriction of a contractile ring in fungi and metazoans. We also provide an introduction to exocytosis and endocytosis, and discuss how they contribute to successful cytokinesis in eukaryotic cells. The conservation in the coordination of membrane deposition and cytoskeleton during cytokinesis in fungi, metazoans, and plants is highlighted...
November 17, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Caroline Laplante
This contribution to the Festschrift for Professor Thomas (Tom) D. Pollard focuses on his work on the elucidation of the protein organization within the cytokinetic nodes, protein assemblies, precursors to the contractile ring. In particular, this work highlights recent discoveries in the molecular organization of the proteins that make the contractile machine in fission yeast using advanced microscopy techniques. One of the main aspects of Tom's research philosophy that marked my career as one of his trainees is his embrace of interdisciplinary approaches to research...
November 17, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Karen L Anderson, Mark F Swift, Dorit Hanein, Niels Volkmann
Arp2/3 complex nucleates dendritic actin networks and plays a pivotal role in the formation of lamellipodia at the leading edge of motile cells. Mouse fibroblasts lacking functional Arp2/3 complex have the characteristic smooth, veil-like lamellipodial leading edge of wild-type cells replaced by a massive, bifurcating filopodia-like protrusions (FLPs) with fractal geometry. The nanometer-scale actin-network organization of these FLPs can be linked to the fractal geometry of the cell boundary by a self-organized criticality through the bifurcation behavior of cross-linked actin bundles...
November 17, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Fumio Oosawa
In this short review, I describe a brief history of the discovery of myosin I isolated from Acanthamoeba in 1973 by Tom Pollard and Ed Korn. Today, myosins form a large "family tree" that includes more than 30 types of myosins. I discuss the importance of the relationship among actin, myosin, and other actin-binding proteins, many of which were pioneered by Pollard-san ("-san" is a Japanese honorific suffix showing respect, politeness and friendship). At the first conference devoted to actin, Pollard-san, Korn-san, and I discussed the importance of the nucleotide bound at the two ends of the actin filament...
November 16, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Justin Parreno, Velia M Fowler
Tropomodulins (Tmods) are proteins that cap the slow-growing (pointed) ends of actin filaments (F-actin). The basis for our current understanding of Tmod function comes from studies in cells with relatively stable and highly organized F-actin networks, leading to the view that Tmod capping functions principally to preserve F-actin stability. However, not only is Tmod capping dynamic, but it also can play major roles in regulating diverse cellular processes involving F-actin remodeling. Here, we highlight the multifunctional roles of Tmod with a focus on Tmod3...
November 14, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Danielle Holz, Dimitrios Vavylonis
We review mathematical and computational models of the structure, dynamics, and force generation properties of dendritic actin networks. These models have been motivated by the dendritic nucleation model, which provided a mechanistic picture of how the actin cytoskeleton system powers cell motility. We describe how they aimed to explain the self-organization of the branched network into a bimodal distribution of filament orientations peaked at 35° and - 35° with respect to the direction of membrane protrusion, as well as other patterns...
November 12, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Julien Berro
Intuition alone often fails to decipher the mechanisms underlying the experimental data in Cell Biology and Biophysics, and mathematical modeling has become a critical tool in these fields. However, mathematical modeling is not as widespread as it could be, because experimentalists and modelers often have difficulties communicating with each other, and are not always on the same page about what a model can or should achieve. Here, we present a framework to develop models that increase the understanding of the mechanisms underlying one's favorite biological system...
November 12, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Henry N Higgs
This essay will review the years that the Pollard lab was at the Salk Institute in the last half of the 1990s. It was a highly productive time both in research and in training. For me personally, it shaped my career for the better in ways I am still discovering.
November 12, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Daniel P Kiehart, John A Cooper
We describe our search for the molecular mechanisms of cell motility with personal recollections of bucket biochemistry in Tom Pollards Lab at the Johns Hopkins, circa 1980.
November 8, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Vassilis Papalazarou, Manuel Salmeron-Sanchez, Laura M Machesky
Mechanosensing is increasingly recognised as important for tumour progression. Tumours become stiff and the forces that normally balance in the healthy organism break down and become imbalanced, leading to increases in migration, invasion and metastatic dissemination. Here, we review recent advances in our understanding of how extracellular matrix properties, such as stiffness, viscoelasticity and architecture control cell behaviour. In addition, we discuss how the tumour microenvironment can be modelled in vitro, capturing these mechanical aspects, to better understand and develop therapies against tumour spread...
November 8, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Samuel R Greenberg, Weimin Tan, Wei-Lih Lee
In both animals and fungi, spindle positioning is dependent upon pulling forces generated by cortically anchored dynein. In animals, cortical anchoring is accomplished by a ternary complex containing the dynein-binding protein NuMA and its cortical attachment machinery. The same function is accomplished by Num1 in budding yeast. While not homologous in primary sequence, NuMA and Num1 appear to share striking similarities in their mechanism of function. Here, we discuss evidence supporting that Num1 in fungi is a functional homolog of NuMA due to their similarity in domain organization and role in the generation of cortical pulling forces...
November 6, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Naomi Courtemanche
Cellular viability requires tight regulation of actin cytoskeletal dynamics. Distinct families of nucleation-promoting factors enable the rapid assembly of filament nuclei that elongate and are incorporated into diverse and specialized actin-based structures. In addition to promoting filament nucleation, the formin family of proteins directs the elongation of unbranched actin filaments. Processive association of formins with growing filament ends is achieved through continuous barbed end binding of the highly conserved, dimeric formin homology (FH) 2 domain...
November 3, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Fikret Aydin, Harshwardhan H Katkar, Gregory A Voth
Actin is an important cytoskeletal protein that serves as a building block to form filament networks that span across the cell. These networks are orchestrated by a myriad of other cytoskeletal entities including the unbranched filament-forming protein formin and branched network-forming protein complex Arp2/3. Computational models have been able to provide insights into many important structural transitions that are involved in forming these networks, and into the nature of interactions essential for actin filament formation and for regulating the behavior of actin-associated proteins...
October 31, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
Shu-Zon Wu, Moe Yamada, Darren R Mallett, Magdalena Bezanilla
Advances in cell biology have been largely driven by pioneering work in model systems, the majority of which are from one major eukaryotic lineage, the opisthokonts. However, with the explosion of genomic information in many lineages, it has become clear that eukaryotes have incredible diversity in many cellular systems, including the cytoskeleton. By identifying model systems in diverse lineages, it may be possible to begin to understand the evolutionary origins of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. Within the plant lineage, cell biological studies in the model moss, Physcomitrella patens, have over the past decade provided key insights into how the cytoskeleton drives cell and tissue morphology...
October 31, 2018: Biophysical Reviews
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