Formins direct the elongation of unbranched actin filaments that are incorporated into a diverse set of cytoskeletal structures. Elongation of formin-bound filaments occurs along two parallel pathways. The formin homology 2 (FH2) pathway allows actin monomers to bind directly to barbed ends bound by dimeric FH2 domains. The formin homology 1 (FH1) pathway involves transfer of profilin-bound actin to the barbed end from polyproline tracts located in the disordered FH1 domains. Here, we used a total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy-based fluorescence approach to determine the fraction of actin subunits incorporated via the FH1 and FH2 pathways during filament elongation mediated by two formins. We found that the fraction of filament elongation that occurs via each pathway directly depends on the efficiency of the other pathway, indicating that these two pathways compete with each other for subunit addition by formins. We conclude that this competition allows formins to compensate for changes in the efficiency of one pathway by adjusting the frequency of subunit addition via the other, thus increasing the overall robustness of formin-mediated actin polymerization.
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This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant GM 122787. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the con-tents of this article. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Insti-tutes of Health.
© 2018 Sherer et al.