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Ono, S. (2001) The Caenorhabditis elegans unc-78 gene encodes a homologue of actin-interacting protein 1 required for organized assembly of muscle actin filaments. J.Cell Biol. 152, 1313-1319.


Assembly and maintenance of myofibrils require dynamic regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. In Caenorhabditis elegans, UNC-60B, a muscle-specific actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin isoform, is required for proper actin filament assembly in body wall muscle (Ono, S., D.L. Baillie, and G.M. Benian. 1999. J. Cell Biol. 145:491--502). Here, I show that UNC-78 is a homologue of actin-interacting protein 1 (AIP1) and functions as a novel regulator of actin organization in myofibrils. In unc-78 mutants, the striated organization of actin filaments is disrupted, and large actin aggregates are formed in the body wall muscle cells, resulting in defects in their motility. Point mutations in unc-78 alleles change conserved residues within different WD repeats of the UNC-78 protein and cause less severe phenotypes than a deletion allele, suggesting that these mutations partially impair the function of UNC-78. UNC-60B is normally localized in the diffuse cytoplasm and to the myofibrils in wild type but mislocalized to the actin aggregates in unc-78 mutants. Similar Unc-78 phenotypes are observed in both embryonic and adult muscles. Thus, AIP1 is an important regulator of actin filament organization and localization of ADF/cofilin during development of myofibrils.



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