Encyclopedia of Signaling Molecules

2018 Edition
| Editors: Sangdun Choi

Actinin Family

  • Paul W. YoungEmail author
  • Amarendra Praburam Ajaykumar
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67199-4_101924


 ACTN;  ACTN1;  ACTN2;  ACTN3;  ACTN4;  α-Actinin

Historical Background

Alpha-actinin was first identified in 1964 by Setsuro and Fumiko Ebashi in a biochemical fraction from muscle that promoted actomyosin contraction (Ebashi et al. 1964). However, it was experiments that they performed with Koscak Maruyama that defined what is now regarded as the primary function of alpha-actinin, namely, the cross-linking of actin filaments. This cross-linking ability was observed in vitro as the formation of gels when alpha-actinin was mixed with F-actin, while bundling of actin filaments was observed by electron microscopy. The name alpha-actinin was Maruyama’s suggestion, with another factor that he had identified and characterized being designated beta-actinin. Beta-actinin is unrelated to alpha-actinin and is now almost exclusively called Cap Z, or capping protein, reflecting its function in the Z-disk of the muscle sarcomere where it caps the barbed (+) end of actin filaments. Thus...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biochemistry and Cell BiologyUniversity College CorkCorkIreland