Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 150, Issue 3, pp 235–244 | Cite as

Nuclear actin: ancient clue to evolution in eukaryotes?

  • Csaba Bajusz
  • Péter Borkúti
  • Ildikó Kristó
  • Zoltán Kovács
  • Csilla Abonyi
  • Péter Vilmos


Until recently it was widely accepted that the dynamic cytoskeletal matrix is exclusive to the cytoplasm of eukaryotes, evolving before the emergence of the cell nucleus to enable phagocytosis, cell motility and the sophisticated functioning of the endomembrane system within the cytosol. The discovery of the existence of a prokaryotic cytoskeleton has changed this picture significantly. As a result, the idea has taken shape that the appearance of actin occurred in the very first cell; therefore, the emergence of microfilaments precedes that of the eukaryotic cytoskeleton. The discovery of nuclear actin opened new perspective on the field, suggesting that the nuclear activities of actin reflect the functions of primordial actin-like proteins. In this paper, we review the recent literature to explore the evolutionary origin of nuclear actin. We conclude that both ancient and eukaryotic features of the actin world can be detected in the nucleus today, which supports the idea that the cytoskeleton attained significant eukaryotic innovations before the tandem evolution of the cytoskeleton and nucleus occurred.


Actin Evolution Cytoskeleton Nucleus 



Nuclear pore complex




Linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton


Nuclear localization signal


Serum response factor


Actin-related protein


Megakaryoblastic leukemia protein 1


Inner nuclear membrane protein



The authors acknowledge Miklós Erdélyi, József Mihály and Gabriel Fenteany (BRC Szeged) for the critical reading of the manuscript.


This work was supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office—NKFIH (GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00001, GINOP-2.3.2-15-2016-00032 and PD127968).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Csaba Bajusz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Péter Borkúti
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ildikó Kristó
    • 1
  • Zoltán Kovács
    • 1
  • Csilla Abonyi
    • 1
  • Péter Vilmos
    • 1
  1. 1.Biological Research Centre of the Hungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Doctoral School of BiologyUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  3. 3.Doctoral School of Multidisciplinary Medical ScienceUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary

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