β‐ and γ‐cytoplasmic actin are nearly indistinguishable in their amino acid sequence, but are encoded by different genes that play non‐redundant biological roles. The key determinants that drive their functional distinction are unknown. Here we tested the hypothesis that β- and γ-actin functions are defined by their nucleotide, rather than their amino acid sequence, using targeted editing of the mouse genome. Although previous studies have shown that disruption of β-actin gene critically impacts cell migration and mouse embryogenesis, we demonstrate here that generation of a mouse lacking β-actin protein by editing β-actin gene to encode γ-actin protein, and vice versa, does not affect cell migration and/or organism survival. Our data suggest that the essential in vivo function of β-actin is provided by the gene sequence independent of the encoded protein isoform. We propose that this regulation constitutes a global 'silent code' mechanism that controls the functional diversity of protein isoforms.
- Anna Kashina
- Anna Kashina
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (#805204) of the University of Pennsylvania.
- Pekka Lappalainen, University of Helsinki, Finland
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