Proteomic analysis of the actin cortex in interphase and mitosis.

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Public Summary:
The shape and mechanical properties of the cell are defined by the actin cytoskeleton. Contractile tension is a key determinant of cell shape and occurs at the actomyosin cell cortex. Here, the authors analysed cortices composition between mitotic and interphase cells using mass spectrometry, generating a dataset of candidate cortex mechanics regulators.
Scientific Abstract:
Many animal cell shape changes are driven by gradients in the contractile tension of the actomyosin cortex, a thin cytoskeletal network supporting the plasma membrane. Elucidating cortical tension control is thus essential for understanding cell morphogenesis. Increasing evidence shows that alongside myosin activity, actin network organisation and composition are key to cortex tension regulation. However, owing to a poor understanding of how cortex composition changes when tension changes, which cortical components are important remains unclear. In this article, we compared cortices from cells with low and high cortex tensions. We purified cortex-enriched fractions from cells in interphase and mitosis, as mitosis is characterised by high cortical tension. Mass spectrometry analysis identified 922 proteins consistently represented in both interphase and mitotic cortices. Focusing on actin-related proteins narrowed down the list to 238 candidate regulators of the mitotic cortical tension increase. Among these candidates, we found that there is a role for septins in mitotic cell rounding control. Overall, our study provides a comprehensive dataset of candidate cortex regulators, paving the way for systematic investigations of the regulation of cell surface mechanics. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.