Structural basis for profilin-mediated actin nucleotide exchange

Jason C. Porta, Gloria E.O. Borgstahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Actin is a ubiquitous eukaryotic protein that is responsible for cellular scaffolding, motility, and division. The ability of actin to form a helical filament is the driving force behind these cellular activities. Formation of a filament depends on the successful exchange of actin's ADP for ATP. Mammalian profilin is a small actin binding protein that catalyzes the exchange of nucleotide and facilitates the addition of an actin monomer to a growing filament. Here, crystal structures of profilin-actin have been determined to show an actively exchanging ATP. Structural analysis shows how the binding of profilin to the barbed end of actin causes a rotation of the small domain relative to the large domain. This conformational change is propagated to the ATP site and causes a shift in nucleotide loops, which in turn causes a repositioning of Ca2+ to its canonical position as the cleft closes around ATP. Reversal of the solvent exposure of Trp356 is also involved in cleft closure. In addition, secondary calcium binding sites were identified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 20 2012


  • ATP
  • calcium
  • conformational change
  • domain motion
  • protein-protein interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural basis for profilin-mediated actin nucleotide exchange'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this