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F-Actin’s Role in Cellular Processes

The actin cytoskeleton in eukaryotes is essential to many important cellular processes, such as cell division, neuronal polarization, and cell migration. There are three components that build the cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells: actin, microtubules, and intermediate filaments.

Within the cells, actin is present in two forms. One is the monomeric, globular molecule called G-actin. G-actin has the ability to polymerize and create the second form, a double-stranded filamentous polymer called F-actin. These actin filaments build up different higher order structures in cells (e.g., stress fibres, lamellipodia, and filopodia).

Although there are indications that G-actin plays some important roles in the cells, F-actin is primarily involved in crucial cellular processes like morphogenesis, cell division, and migration.

Therefore, staining of F-Actin is an important issue in cellular research. LifeAct®, a novel actin marker, stains filamentous actin structures in living or fixed eurkaryotic cells and tissues. In contrast to GFP-actin and its alternatives such as actin-binding proteins, LifeAct does not interfere with actin dynamics in vivo and in vitro.