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Researchers have found that two specific proteins take apart actin filaments at one end and return the building blocks to the other end for a new round of polymerization. The structure of this machinery driving cell motility may open new opportunities for developing therapeutics to inhibit cell migration in cancer.
Many cells in our body constantly change their shape and move within our tissues. For example, wound healing and the immune system depend on migrating cells. On the other hand, uncontrolled cell migration is a hallmark of metastasis during the development of malignant cancers, so cell migration must be very tightly regulated.
Driving - Force - Cell - Migration - Protein
The driving force for cell migration is produced by a protein called actin. Actin monomers act as building blocks by polymerizing into rod-like filaments that push the leading edge of the cell forward. The polymerization of the actin filaments must be balanced by depolymerization of the filaments at the other end.
Now, scientists at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Institut Jacques Monod, France, have identified a molecular machinery which drives rapid depolymerization of actin filaments and recycles the resulting actin monomers for...
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