Biochemistry (Moscow)

, Volume 84, Issue 6, pp 583–592 | Cite as

Biological Role of Actin Isoforms in Mammalian Cells

  • V. B. Dugina
  • G. S. Shagieva
  • P. B. KopninEmail author


Actin plays an important role in cellular adhesion, muscle and non-muscle contractility, migration, polarization, mitosis, and meiosis. Investigation of specific mechanisms underlying these processes is essential not only for fundamental research but also for clinical applications, since modulations of actin isoforms are directly or indirectly correlate with severe pathologies. In this review we summarize the isoform-specific functions of actin associated with adhesion structures, motility and division of normal and tumor cells; alterations of the expression and structural organization of actin isoforms in normal and tumor cells. Selective regulation of cytoplasmic β- or γ-actin expression determines functional diversity between isoforms: β-actin plays the predominant role in contraction and intercellular adhesion, and γ-actin is responsible for the cellular plasticity and motility. Similar data were obtained in different epithelial and mesenchymal neoplastic cell cultures, as well as in immunomorphological comparison of normal human tissues with tumor analogues. Reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and cell–cell contacts is essential for proliferation control and acquisition of invasiveness in epithelial tumors.


cytoplasmic actin isoforms β-actin γ-actin neoplastic transformation tumor cells cytoskeleton 


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© Pleiades Publishing, Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical BiologyLomonosov Moscow State UniversityMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Carcinogenesis, Blokhin National Medical Research Centre of Oncology, PublicHealth Ministry of Russian FederationMoscowRussia

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