The origin of the expressed retrotransposed gene ACTBL2 and its influence on human melanoma cells’ motility and focal adhesion formation
Malek, N., Michrowska, A., Mazurkiewicz, E., Mrówczyńska, E., Mackiewicz, P., & Mazur, A. J.
Cell adhesion, Cell migration, Cytoskeleton, Phylogeny
We have recently found that β-actin-like protein 2 (actbl2) forms complexes with gelsolin in human melanoma cells and can polymerize. Phylogenetic and bioinformatic analyses showed that actbl2 has a common origin with two non-muscle actins, which share a separate history from the muscle actins. The actin groups’ divergence started at the beginning of vertebrate evolution, and actbl2 actins are characterized by the largest number of non-conserved amino acid substitutions of all actins. We also discovered that ACTBL2 is expressed at a very low level in several melanoma cell lines, but a small subset of cells exhibited a high ACTBL2 expression. We found that clones with knocked-out ACTBL2 (CR-ACTBL2) or overexpressing actbl2 (OE-ACTBL2) differ from control cells in the invasion, focal adhesion formation, and actin polymerization ratio, as well as in the formation of lamellipodia and stress fibers. Thus, we postulate that actbl2 is the seventh actin isoform and is essential for cell motility.