Polet D, Lambrechts A, Ono K, Mah A, Peelman F, Vandekerckhove J, Baillie DL, Ampe C, Ono S.
Profilins are actin binding proteins, which also interact with polyphosphoinositides and proline-rich ligands. On the basis of the genome sequence, three diverse profilin homologues (PFN) are predicted to exist in Caenorhabditis elegans. We show that all three isoforms PFN-1, PFN-2, and PFN-3 are expressed in vivo and biochemical studies indicate they bind actin and influence actin dynamics in a similar manner. In addition, they bind poly(L-proline) and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate micelles. PFN-1 is essential whereas PFN-2 and PFN-3 are nonessential. Immunostainings revealed different expression patterns for the profilin isoforms. In embryos, PFN-1 localizes in the cytoplasm and to the cell-cell contacts at the early stages, and in the nerve ring during later stages. During late embryogenesis, expression of PFN-3 was specifically detected in body wall muscle cells. In adult worms, PFN-1 is expressed in the neurons, the vulva, and the somatic gonad, PFN-2 in the intestinal wall, the spermatheca, and the pharynx, and PFN-3 localizes in a striking dot-like fashion in body wall muscle. Thus the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans expresses three profilin isoforms and is the first invertebrate animal with tissue-specific profilin expression.