ADF/cofilin binds phosphoinositides in a multivalent manner to act as a PIP(2)-density sensor.

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Actin-depolymerizing-factor (ADF)/cofilins have emerged as key regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics in cell motility, morphogenesis, endocytosis, and cytokinesis. The activities of ADF/cofilins are regulated by membrane phospholipid PI(4,5)P(2) in vitro and in cells, but the mechanism of the ADF/cofilin-PI(4,5)P(2) interaction has remained controversial. Recent studies suggested that ADF/cofilins interact with PI(4,5)P(2) through a specific binding pocket, and that this interaction is dependent on pH. Here, we combined systematic mutagenesis with biochemical and spectroscopic methods to elucidate the phosphoinositide-binding mechanism of ADF/cofilins. Our analysis revealed that cofilin does not harbor a specific PI(4,5)P(2)-binding pocket, but instead interacts with PI(4,5)P(2) through a large, positively charged surface of the molecule. Cofilin interacts simultaneously with multiple PI(4,5)P(2) headgroups in a cooperative manner. Consequently, interactions of cofilin with membranes and actin exhibit sharp sensitivity to PI(4,5)P(2) density. Finally, we show that cofilin binding to PI(4,5)P(2) is not sensitive to changes in the pH at physiological salt concentration, although the PI(4,5)P(2)-clustering activity of cofilin is moderately inhibited at elevated pH. Collectively, our data demonstrate that ADF/cofilins bind PI(4,5)P(2) headgroups through a multivalent, cooperative mechanism, and suggest that the actin filament disassembly activity of ADF/cofilin can be accurately regulated by small changes in the PI(4,5)P(2) density at cellular membranes. Copyright 2010 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




Zhao, H., Hakala, M., & Lappalainen, P. (2010). ADF/cofilin binds phosphoinositides in a multivalent manner to act as a PIP(2)-density sensor. Biophysical Journal, 98(10), 2327–2336.

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