Actin mechanics and fragmentation [Protein Structure and Folding]

May 8th, 2015 by De La Cruz, E. M., Gardel, M. L.

Cell physiological processes require the regulation and coordination of both mechanical and dynamical properties of the actin cytoskeleton. Here we review recent advances in understanding the mechanical properties and stability of actin filaments and how these properties are manifested at larger (network) length scales. We discuss how forces can influence local biochemical interactions, resulting in the formation of mechanically sensitive dynamic steady states. Understanding the regulation of such force-activated chemistries and dynamic steady states reflects an important challenge for future work that will provide valuable insights as to how the actin cytoskeleton engenders mechano-responsiveness of living cells.