MDia1 senses both force and torque during F-actin filament polymerization

Miao Yu, Xin Yuan, Chen Lu, Shimin Le, Ryo Kawamura, Artem K. Efremov, Zhihai Zhao, Michael M. Kozlov, Michael Sheetz, Alexander Bershadsky, Jie Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Formins, an important family of force-bearing actin-polymerizing factors, function as homodimers that bind with the barbed end of actin filaments through a ring-like structure assembled from dimerized FH2 domains. It has been hypothesized that force applied to formin may facilitate transition of the FH2 ring from an inhibitory closed conformation to a permissive open conformation, speeding up actin polymerization. We confirm this hypothesis for mDia1 dependent actin polymerization by stretching a single-actin filament in the absence of profilin using magnetic tweezers, and observe that increasing force from 0.5 to 10 pN can drastically speed up the actin polymerization rate. Further, we find that this force-promoted actin polymerization requires torsionally unconstrained actin filament, suggesting that mDia1 also senses torque. As actin filaments are subject to complex mechanical constraints in living cells, these results provide important insights into how formin senses these mechanical constraints and regulates actin organization accordingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1650
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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