Numerous cellular functions depend on actin filament (F-actin) disassembly. The best-characterized disassembly proteins, the ADF (actin-depolymerizing factor)/cofilins (encoded by the twinstar gene in Drosophila), sever filaments and recycle monomers to promote actin assembly. Cofilin is also a relatively weak actin disassembler, posing questions about mechanisms of cellular F-actin destabilization. Here we uncover a key link to targeted F-actin disassembly by finding that F-actin is efficiently dismantled through a post-translational-mediated synergism between cofilin and the actin-oxidizing enzyme Mical. We find that Mical-mediated oxidation of actin improves cofilin binding to filaments, where their combined effect dramatically accelerates F-actin disassembly compared with either effector alone. This synergism is also necessary and sufficient for F-actin disassembly in vivo, magnifying the effects of both Mical and cofilin on cellular remodelling, axon guidance and Semaphorin-Plexin repulsion. Mical and cofilin, therefore, form a redox-dependent synergistic pair that promotes F-actin instability by rapidly dismantling F-actin and generating post-translationally modified actin that has altered assembly properties.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology