Profilin is predominantly associated with monomeric actin in Acanthamoeba

Donald A. Kaiser, Valda K. Vinson, Douglas B. Murphy, Thomas D. Pollard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used biochemical fractionation, immunoassays and microscopy of live and fixed Acanthamoeba to determine how much profilin is bound to its known ligands: actin, membrane PIP2, Arp2/3 complex and polyproline sequences. Virtually all profilin is soluble after gentle homogenization of cells. During gel filtration of extracts on Sephadex G75, approximately 60% of profilin chromatographs with monomeric actin, 40% is free and none voids with Arp2/3 complex or other large particles. Selective monoclonal antibodies confirm that most of the profilin is bound to actin: 65% in extract immunoadsorption assays and 74-89% by fluorescent antibody staining. Other than monomeric actin, no major profilin ligands are detected in crude extracts. Profilin-II labeled with rhodamine on cysteine at position 58 retains its affinity for actin, PIP2 and poly-L-proline. When syringe-loaded into live cells, it distributes throughout the cytoplasm, is excluded from membrane-bounded organelles, and concentrates in lamellapodia and sites of endocytosis but not directly on the plasma membrane. Some profilin fluorescence appears punctate, but since no particulate profilin is detected biochemically, these spots may be soluble profilin between organelles that exclude profilin. The distribution of profilin in fixed human A431 cells is similar to that in amoebas. Our results show that the major pool of polymerizable actin monomers is complexed with profilin and spread throughout the cytoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3779-3790
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1999


  • Antibody
  • Cell motility
  • Endocytosis
  • Pseudopod

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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