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Showing posts from January, 2008

Actin Lessons - part 1. Cytoskeletal proteins are similar to G-proteins

I happened to stumble upon Martin Rodbell's 1994 Nobel Lecture paper: "Signal Transduction: Evolution of an Idea" again recently. I really enjoy reading these Lecture papers as they are a) written by the scientists that did the breakthrough research, b) contain a lot of insights into the creative process behind their discoveries and c) are intended for a general audience. Rodbell's paper is a good example. The following excerpt from his lecture paper bridges two areas I had no idea were related: G-protein receptors and the cytoskeleton. (The picture at right is from the web page for Andres Lebensohn of the Kirschner Lab at Harvard. It shows the assembly of an actin network.)

G-PROTEINS ARE SIMILAR IN STRUCTURE AND REGULATION TO
CYTOSKELETAL PROTEINS.
by Martin Rodbell

During these studies, my attention was drawn to the striking similarities in the properties of G-proteins with those of tubulin and actin, the major cytoskeletal elements in cells. For example, G-prote…