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1.  Talin requires beta-integrin, but not vinculin, for its assembly into focal adhesion-like structures in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1996;7(8):1181-1193.
In cultured cells, the 230-kDa protein talin is found at discrete plasma membrane foci known as focal adhesions, sites that anchor the intracellular actin cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix. The regulated assembly of focal adhesions influences the direction of cell migrations or the reorientation of cell shapes. Biochemical studies of talin have shown that it binds to the proteins integrin, vinculin, and actin in vitro. To understand the function of talin in vivo and to correlate its in vitro and in vivo biochemical properties, various genetic approaches have been adopted. With the intention of using genetics in the study of talin, we identified a homologue to mouse talin in a genetic model system, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans talin is 39% identical and 59% similar to mouse talin. In wild-type adult C. elegans, talin colocalizes with integrin, vinculin, and alpha-actinin in the focal adhesion-like structures found in the body-wall muscle. By examining the organization of talin in two different C. elegans mutant strains that do not make either beta-integrin or vinculin, we were able to determine that talin does not require vinculin for its initial organization at the membrane, but that it depends critically on the presence of integrin for its initial assembly at membrane foci.
PMCID: PMC275971  PMID: 8856663
2.  The alpha and beta subunits of nematode actin capping protein function in yeast. 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1993;4(9):907-917.
We cloned and analyzed two genes, cap-1 and cap-2, which encode the alpha and beta subunits of Caenorhabditis elegans capping protein (CP). The nematode CP subunits are 55% (cap-1) and 66% (cap-2) identical to the chicken CP subunits and 32% (cap-1) and 48% (cap-2) identical to the yeast CP subunits. Purified nematode CP made by expression of both subunits in yeast is functionally similar to chicken skeletal muscle CP in two different actin polymerization assays. The abnormal cell morphology and disorganized actin cytoskeleton of yeast CP null mutants are restored to wild-type by expression of the nematode CP subunits. Expression of the nematode CP alpha or beta subunit is sufficient to restore viability to yeast cap1 sac6 or cap2 sac6 double mutants, respectively. Therefore, despite evolution of the nematode actin cytoskeleton to a state far more complex than that of yeast, one important component can function in both organisms.
PMCID: PMC275721  PMID: 8257793

Results 1-2 (2)