Cofilin reduces the mechanical properties of actin filaments: approach with coarse-grained methods
An actin filament is an essential cytoskeleton protein in a cell. Various proteins bind to actin for cell functions such as migration, division, and shape control. ADF/cofilin is a protein that severs actin filaments and is related to their dynamics. Actin is known to have excellent mechanical properties. Binding cofilin reduces its mechanical properties, and is related to the severing process. In this research, we applied a coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation (CGMD) method to obtain actin filaments and cofilin-bound actin (cofilactin) filaments. Using these two obtained models, we constructed an elastic network model-based structure and conducted a normal mode analysis. Based on the low-frequency normal modes of the filament structure, we applied the continuum beam theory to calculate the mechanical properties of the actin and cofilactin filaments. The CGMD method provided structurally accurate actin and cofilactin filaments in relation to the mechanical properties, which showed good agreement with the established experimental results.