- Actin's interactions with myosin and other actin-binding proteins are essential for cellular viability in numerous cell types, including muscle. In a previous high-throughput time-resolved FRET (TR-FRET) screen, we identified a class of compounds that bind to actin and affect actomyosin structure and function. For clinical utility, it is highly desirable to identify compounds that affect skeletal and cardiac muscle differently. Because actin is more highly conserved than myosin and most other muscle proteins, most such efforts have not targeted actin.
- We have used a novel time-resolved FRET (TR-FRET) assay to detect small-molecule modulators of actin–myosin structure and function. Actin–myosin interactions play crucial roles in the generation of cellular force and movement. Numerous mutations and post-translational modifications of actin or myosin disrupt muscle function and cause life-threatening syndromes. Here, we used a FRET biosensor to identify modulators that bind to the actin–myosin interface and alter the structural dynamics of this complex.
- Many biological processes, including cell division, growth, and motility, rely on rapid remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and on actin filament severing by the regulatory protein cofilin. Phosphorylation of vertebrate cofilin at Ser-3 regulates both actin binding and severing. Substitution of serine with aspartate at position 3 (S3D) is widely used to mimic cofilin phosphorylation in cells and in vitro. The S3D substitution weakens cofilin binding to filaments, and it is presumed that subsequent reduction in cofilin occupancy inhibits filament severing, but this hypothesis has remained untested.