Myosin 1b flattens and prunes branched actin filaments
Motile and morphological cellular processes require a spatially and temporally coordinated branched actin network that is controlled by the activity of various regulatory proteins including the Arp2/3 complex, profilin, cofilin and tropomyosin. We have previously reported that myosin 1b regulates the density of the actin network in the growth cone. Using in vitro F-actin gliding assays and total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy we show in this report that this molecular motor flattens the Arp2/3-dependent actin branches up to breaking them and reduces the probability to form new branches. This experiment reveals that myosin 1b can produce force sufficient enough to break up the Arp2/3-mediated actin junction. Together with the former in vivo studies, this work emphasizes the essential role played by myosins in the architecture and in the dynamics of actin networks in different cellular regions.