The Bimodal Role of Filamin in Controlling the Architecture and Mechanics of F-actin Networks

Yiider Tseng, Kwang M. An, Osigwe Esue, Denis Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Reconstituted actin filament networks have been used extensively to understand the mechanics of the actin cortex and decipher the role of actin cross-linking proteins in the maintenance and deformation of cell shape. However, studies of the mechanical role of the F-actin cross-linking protein filamin have led to seemingly contradictory conclusions, in part due to the use of ill-defined mechanical assays. Using quantitative rheological methods that avoid the pitfalls of previous studies, we systematically tested the complex mechanical response of reconstituted actin filament networks containing a wide range of filamin concentrations and compared the mechanical function of filamin with that of the cross-linking/bundling proteins α-actinin and fascin. At steady state and within a well defined linear regime of small non-destructive deformations, F-actin solutions behave as highly dynamic networks (actin polymers are still sufficiently mobile to relax the stress) below the cross-linking-to-bundling threshold filamin concentration, and they behave as covalently cross-linked gels above that threshold. Under large deformations, F-actin networks soften at low filamin concentrations and strain-harden at high filamin concentrations. Filamin cross-links F-actin into networks that are more resilient, stiffer, more solid-like, and less dynamic than α-actinin and fascin. These results resolve the controversy by showing that F-actin/filamin networks can adopt diametrically opposed rheological behaviors depending on the concentration in cross-linking proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1819-1826
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 16 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Bimodal Role of Filamin in Controlling the Architecture and Mechanics of F-actin Networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this