A tale of two polymers: new insights into helical filaments.

Edward H Egelman


Many proteins function as helical polymers within the cell. Two intensively studied examples are eukaryotic actin and bacterial RecA, which belong to two different protein superfamilies. However, most other members of these superfamilies do not polymerize into helical filaments. General features of polymorphism, cooperativity and allostery that emerge from studies of eukaryotic actin and bacterial RecA raise more general issues about how conserved these filamentous structures have been during evolution.