Myosin-I Synergizes with Arp2/3 Complex to Enhance Pushing Forces of Branched Actin Networks

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Myosin-Is colocalize with Arp2/3 complex-nucleated actin networks at sites of membrane protrusion and invagination, but the mechanisms by which myosin-I motor activity coordinates with branched actin assembly to generate force are unknown. We mimicked the interplay of these proteins using the “comet tail” bead motility assay, where branched actin networks are nucleated by Arp2/3 complex on the surface of beads coated with myosin-I and the WCA domain of N-WASP. We observed that myosin-I increased bead movement efficiency by thinning actin networks without affecting growth rates. Remarkably, myosin-I triggered symmetry breaking and comet-tail formation in dense networks resistant to spontaneous fracturing. Even with arrested actin assembly, myosin-I alone could break the network. Computational modeling recapitulated these observations suggesting myosin-I acts as a repulsive force shaping the network’s architecture and boosting its force-generating capacity. We propose that myosin-I leverages its power stroke to amplify the forces generated by Arp2/3 complex-nucleated actin networks.

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