• Actin;
  • actin-binding proteins;
  • actin nucleation;
  • Arabidopsis;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • formin


Formin is a major protein responsible for regulating the nucleation of actin filaments, and as such, it permits the cell to control where and when to assemble actin arrays. It is encoded by a multigene family comprising 21 members in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Arabidopsis formins can be separated into two phylogenetically-distinct classes: there are 11 class I formins and 10 class II formins. Significant questions remain unanswered regarding the molecular mechanism of actin nucleation and elongation stimulated by each formin isovariant, and how the different isovariants coordinate to regulate actin dynamics in cells. Here, we characterize a class II formin, AtFH19, biochemically. We found that AtFH19 retains all general properties of the formin family, including nucleation and barbed end capping activity. It can also generate actin filaments from a pool of actin monomers bound to profilin. However, both the nucleation and barbed end capping activities of AtFH19 are less efficient compared to those of another well-characterized formin, AtFH1. Interestingly, AtFH19 FH1FH2 competes with AtFH1 FH1FH2 in binding actin filament barbed ends, and inhibits the effect of AtFH1 FH1FH2 on actin. We thus propose a mechanism in which two quantitatively different formins coordinate to regulate actin dynamics by competing for actin filament barbed ends.