A dynamic actin-dependent nucleoskeleton and cell identity

Tomas Venit, Nadine Hosny El Said, Syed Raza Mahmood, Piergiorgio Percipalle

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Actin is an essential regulator of cellular functions. In the eukaryotic cell nucleus, actin regulates chromatin as a bona fide component of chromatin remodelling complexes, it associates with nuclear RNA polymerases to regulate transcription and is involved in co-transcriptional assembly of nascent RNAs into ribonucleoprotein complexes. Actin dynamics are, therefore, emerging as a major regulatory factor affecting diverse cellular processes. Importantly, the involvement of actin dynamics in nuclear functions is redefining the concept of nucleoskeleton from a rigid scaffold to a dynamic entity that is likely linked to the three-dimensional organization of the nuclear genome. In this review, we discuss how nuclear actin, by regulating chromatin structure through phase separation may contribute to the architecture of the nuclear genome during cell differentiation and facilitate the expression of specific gene programs. We focus specifically on mitochondrial genes and how their dysregulation in the absence of actin raises important questions about the role of cytoskeletal proteins in regulating chromatin structure. The discovery of a novel pool of mitochondrial actin that serves as 'mitoskeleton' to facilitate organization of mtDNA supports a general role for actin in genome architecture and a possible function of distinct actin pools in the communication between nucleus and mitochondria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021


  • chromatin and transcription regulation
  • development and differentiation
  • genome organization and integrity
  • mitochondria
  • nuclear actin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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