Actin Dynamics and Reproductive Aging

The actin cytoskeleton is crucial in various cellular processes, such as cellular migration, phagocytosis, and intracellular trafficking. Aging results in changes in actin expression and dynamics, which can contribute to multiple age-associated diseases and conditions, including cancer, vascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases1. Studies in yeast have revealed that the actin cytoskeleton is critical for nutrient metabolism and even lifespan determination2.

Humans have three types of actins: α-, β- and γ-actin3. There are three α-actin isoforms found in contractile structures in muscle cells (cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle). β- and γ-actin are found in both muscle and non-muscle cells. Actin monomers (G-actin) can polymerize into long, helical filaments (F-actin). The helical structure of actin and the orientation of actin subunits create a directionality, which is important for the function of actin-binding motor proteins.

With age, the quantity and quality of oocytes diminish, and fertility significantly decreases from 35 years of age until menopause. Energy metabolism is one mechanism underlying the diminished quality of oocytes, and it has garnered much attention4. Recent evidence indicates that actin is essential for mammalian reproduction, and changes in actin dynamics with age impact age-related fertility and reproductive outcomes, which we highlight in this newsletter.

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Also included in this newsletter:

  • - Actin Tools
  • - Related Publications