The Actin Filament System : Its Involvement in Cell Migration and Neurotransmitter Release

Sammanfattning: The microfilament system consists of actin filaments as the major component and is regulated by a number of actin binding proteins. It is juxtaposed to the plasma membrane where it forms a dense cortical weave from where it pervades into the cell interior. This filament system has multiple roles and participates in virtually all motile processes where its dynamic activities depend on receptor mediated signaling leading to constant polymerizations and depolymerizations. These activities are now also known to affect gene regulation. This thesis discusses these dynamic reorganizations of the microfilament system and how components are supplied to support these motile processes. The focus is on profilin/profilin:actin, actin polymerization and the localization of the transcripts of these proteins. The localization of profilin mRNA was examined in relation to the distribution of β-actin mRNA using fluorescent in situ hybridization. It was concluded that both these mRNAs localize to sites of massive actin polymerization called dorsal ruffles albeit the data obtained suggests that this localization must be dependent on distinct mechanisms. Additionally signal transduction and cell motility was studied after depleting the two profilin isoforms 1 and 2. The activity of the transcription factor SRF is known to be coupled to microfilament system dynamics via the cofactor MAL which binds to actin monomers and is released upon receptor mediated actin polymerization. Depletion of profilin was seen to influence SRF dependent signaling, most likely because the lack of profilin enables more MAL to bind actin monomers thereby preventing SRF dependent transcription. Finally, it was also investigated how the synaptic vesicle protein synaptotagmin 1 which is involved in exocytosis, has a role in actin polymerization. This protein has previously been described to cause filopodia formation when ectopically expressed. A polybasic sequence motif was identified as the effector sequence for this activity and it was established that this sequence interacts with anionic lipids. It is also discussed how this sequence could have a role in neurotransmitter release and actin polymerization in the nerve synapse.