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The structure of gelsolin has been determined by crystallography and comprises six structurally related domains that, in a Ca2+-free environment, pack together to form a compact globular structure in which the putative actin-binding sequences are not sufficiently exposed to enable binding to occur. We propose that binding Ca2+ can release the connections that join the N- and C-terminal halves of gelsolin, enabling each half to bind actin relatively independently. Domain shifts are proposed in response to Ca2+ as bases for models of how gelsolin acts to sever, cap, or nucleate F-actin filaments. The structure also invites discussion of polyphosphoinositide binding to segment 2 and suggests how mutation at Asp-187 could initiate a series of events that lead to deposition of amyloid plaques, as observed in victims of familial amyloidosis (Finnish type).


Journal article



Publication Date





661 - 670


Actins, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Calcium, Crystallography, X-Ray, Gelsolin, Horses, Models, Molecular, Molecular Sequence Data, Protein Conformation, Sequence Alignment