Identification and characterization of a small molecule inhibitor of formin-mediated actin assembly. Academic Article uri icon


  • Formins stimulate actin filament assembly for fundamental cellular processes including division, adhesion, establishing polarity, and motility. A formin inhibitor would be useful because most cells express multiple formins whose functions are not known and because metastatic tumor formation depends on the deregulation of formin-dependent processes. We identified a general small molecule inhibitor of formin homology 2 domains (SMIFH2) by screening compounds for the ability to prevent formin-mediated actin assembly in vitro. SMIFH2 targets formins from evolutionarily diverse organisms including yeast, nematode worm, and mice, with a half-maximal inhibitor concentration of approximately 5 to 15 microM. SMIFH2 prevents both formin nucleation and processive barbed end elongation and decreases formin's affinity for the barbed end. Furthermore, low micromolar concentrations of SMIFH2 disrupt formin-dependent, but not Arp2/3 complex-dependent, actin cytoskeletal structures in fission yeast and mammalian NIH 3T3 fibroblasts.

publication date

  • November 25, 2009