Catastrophic actin filament bursting by cofilin, Aip1, and coronin [Cell Biology]

July 28th, 2020 by Vivian W Tang, Ambika V. Nadkarni, William M Brieher

Cofilin is an actin filament severing protein necessary for fast actin turnover dynamics. Coronin and Aip1 promote cofilin mediated actin filament disassembly, but the mechanism is somewhat controversial. An early model proposed that the combination of cofilin, coronin, and Aip1 disassembled filaments in bursts. A subsequent study only reported severing. Here, we used electron microscopy to show that actin filaments convert directly into globular material. A monomer trap assay also shows that the combination of all three factors produces actin monomers faster than any two factors alone. We show that coronin accelerates the release of inorganic phosphate from actin filaments and promotes highly cooperative cofilin binding to actin to create long stretches of polymer with a hypertwisted morphology. Aip1 attacks these hypertwisted regions along their sides, disintegrating them into monomers or short oligomers. The results are consistent with a catastrophic mode of disassembly, not enhanced severing alone.