Three-dimensional reconstruction of the dynactin complex by single-particle image analysis


National Academy of Sciences


Dynactin is a large complex of at least nine distinct proteins that co-complexes with cytoplasmic dynein within cells, where it plays a major role as a regulator of the motor's function. Owing to its large size and complexity, relatively little is known about dynactin's 3D structure or the structural basis of its function. Use of single-particle image analysis techniques has enabled us to produce the first 3D reconstruction of the dynactin complex, to a resolution of 3 nm. The actin-related protein (Arp) backbone of the filament has been clearly visualized. Fitting of models of the Arp backbone showed that it consists of 10 subunits. Additional mass, not part of the Arp backbone, was also seen. A preliminary fitting of the capping protein CapZ structure into our 3D reconstruction of the dynactin complex suggests that it is optimally placed to perform its proposed function as a stabilizer of the Arp1 backbone and gives clues as to likely interaction points between the capping protein and Arp subunits. The results provide the first detailed visualization of the dynactin complex and shed light on the mode of interaction between several of its constituent proteins and their possible functions.

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