Actin Waves: Dynamic F-Actin Networks Guiding Multiple Biological Functions


Actin structures in the cellular cortex can create dynamic wave-like patterns that were first observed in the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum nearly 30 years ago.1,2 Actin waves have since been found in many other cell types including neutrophils, dendritic cells, T cells, neurons, endothelial cells, fibroblasts, and keratocytes.1,3,4

While actin waves differ considerably in their morphology, propagation speed, and biochemical composition3 (Figure 1), they can be broadly defined as “micron-scale cytoskeletal regions of increased filamentous actin density that propagate in a wave-like fashion in the actin cortex”.1 Much early work investigated their role in cell migration and division,1 but a far wider range of functional roles is now emerging. In this newsletter, we will review how our understanding of actin waves has developed since their initial discovery and highlight important recent findings suggesting vital biological roles on a multicellular scale.

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Also included in this newsletter:

  • Actin and Microtubule Tools
  • Related Publications