Structural and biochemical evidence for the emergence of a calcium-regulated actin cytoskeleton prior to eukaryogenesis

Caner Akıl, Linh T. Tran, Magali Orhant-Prioux, Yohendran Baskaran, Yosuke Senju, Shuichi Takeda, Phatcharin Chotchuang, Duangkamon Muengsaen, Albert Schulte, Edward Manser, Laurent Blanchoin, Robert C. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Charting the emergence of eukaryotic traits is important for understanding the characteristics of organisms that contributed to eukaryogenesis. Asgard archaea and eukaryotes are the only organisms known to possess regulated actin cytoskeletons. Here, we determined that gelsolins (2DGels) from Lokiarchaeota (Loki) and Heimdallarchaeota (Heim) are capable of regulating eukaryotic actin dynamics in vitro and when expressed in eukaryotic cells. The actin filament severing and capping, and actin monomer sequestering, functionalities of 2DGels are strictly calcium controlled. We determined the X-ray structures of Heim and Loki 2DGels bound actin monomers. Each structure possesses common and distinct calcium-binding sites. Loki2DGel has an unusual WH2-like motif (LVDV) between its two gelsolin domains, in which the aspartic acid coordinates a calcium ion at the interface with actin. We conclude that the calcium-regulated actin cytoskeleton predates eukaryogenesis and emerged in the predecessors of the last common ancestor of Loki, Heim and Thorarchaeota.

Original languageEnglish
Article number890
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural and biochemical evidence for the emergence of a calcium-regulated actin cytoskeleton prior to eukaryogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this