Linking actin dynamics and gene transcription to drive cellular motile functions

Eric N. Olson, Alfred Nordheim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

746 Scopus citations


Numerous physiological and pathological stimuli promote the rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, thereby modulating cellular motile functions. Although it seems intuitively obvious that cell motility requires coordinated protein biosynthesis, until recently the linkage between cytoskeletal actin dynamics and correlated gene activities remained unknown. This knowledge gap was filled in part by the discovery that globular actin polymerization liberates myocardin-related transcription factor (MRTF) cofactors, thereby inducing the nuclear transcription factor serum response factor (SRF) to modulate the expression of genes encoding structural and regulatory effectors of actin dynamics. This insight stimulated research to better understand the actinĝ€"MRTFĝ€"SRF circuit and to identify alternative mechanisms that link cytoskeletal dynamics and genome activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-365
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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