Eukaryotic cells show a remarkable compartmentalization into compartments such as the cell nucleus, the Golgi apparatus, the endoplasmic reticulum, and endosomes. However, organelle structures are not the only means by which specialized compartments are formed. Recent research shows a critical role for diverse actin filament populations in defining functional compartments, here referred to as microcompartments, in a wide range of cells. These microcompartments are involved in regulating fundamental cellular functions including cell motility, plasma membrane organization, and cellular morphogenesis. In this overview, the importance of two multigene families of actin-associated proteins, tropomodulins and tropomyosins, their interactions with each other, and a large number of other proteins will be discussed in the context of generating specialized actin-based microcompartments.
- Cellular compartments