Issue 4, 2020

Single-molecule nanopore sensing of actin dynamics and drug binding


Actin is a key protein in the dynamic processes within the eukaryotic cell. To date, methods exploring the molecular state of actin are limited to insights gained from structural approaches, providing a snapshot of protein folding, or methods that require chemical modifications compromising actin monomer thermostability. Nanopore sensing permits label-free investigation of native proteins and is ideally suited to study proteins such as actin that require specialised buffers and cofactors. Using nanopores, we determined the state of actin at the macromolecular level (filamentous or globular) and in its monomeric form bound to inhibitors. We revealed urea-dependent and voltage-dependent transitional states and observed the unfolding process within which sub-populations of transient actin oligomers are visible. We detected, in real-time, filament-growth, and drug-binding at the single-molecule level demonstrating the promise of nanopore sensing for in-depth understanding of protein folding landscapes and for drug discovery.

Graphical abstract: Single-molecule nanopore sensing of actin dynamics and drug binding

Associated articles

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
11 Nov 2019
02 Dec 2019
First published
03 Dec 2019
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2020,11, 970-979

Single-molecule nanopore sensing of actin dynamics and drug binding

X. Wang, M. D. Wilkinson, X. Lin, R. Ren, K. R. Willison, A. P. Ivanov, J. Baum and J. B. Edel, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 970 DOI: 10.1039/C9SC05710B

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity