Actin filament bundles isolated from Limulus sperm were used for quantitative electron microscope studies of F-actin assembly. The assembly rate constants were calculated. In addition, the critical concentrations (Cos) for both filament ends were directly determined. In 75 mM KCI and 1-5 mM Mg++, the Cos were 0.1 μM and 0.5 μM for the barbed and pointed ends, respectively. Substitution of Ca++ (20-200 μM) for Mg++ resulted in Cos of 0.4 μM for both filament ends. Consistent with these findings, filament growth occurred only from the barbed ends of Limulus bundles "seeded" into F-actin solutions in KCI and Mg++. Finally, filaments originally grown from the pointed filament ends of Limulus bundles were gradually lost as the actin solution reached steady state. These results demonstrate that actin filaments can "treadmill" under physiological conditions, albeit at very slow rates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)