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J. Cell Sci. 117 (13): 2769-2775

Research Article

Role of the cytoskeleton in signaling networks

Gabor Forgacs1,*, Soon Hyung Yook2, Paul A. Janmey3, Hawoong Jeong2,4, and Christopher G. Burd5

1 Department of Physics and Biology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
2 Department of Physics, Notre Dame University, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
3 Institute for Medicine and Engineering, Department of Physiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 3340 Smith Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
4 Department of Physics, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Taejon, 305-701, Korea
5 Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

* Author for correspondence (e-mail: forgacsg{at}

Accepted for publication 26 January 2004.

Abstract: Intracellular signal transduction occurs through cascades of reactions involving dozens of proteins that transmit signals from the cell surface, through a crowded cellular environment filled with organelles and a filamentous cytoskeleton, to specific targets. Numerous signaling molecules are immobilized or transiently bound to the cytoskeleton, yet most models for signaling pathways have no specific role for this mesh, which is often presumed to function primarily as a scaffold that determines cell mechanics but not information flow. We combined analytical tools with several recently established large-scale protein-protein interaction maps for Saccharomyces cerevisiae to quantitatively address the role of the cytoskeleton in intracellular signaling. The results demonstrate that the network of signaling proteins is intimately linked to the cytoskeleton, suggesting that this interconnected filamentous structure plays a crucial and distinct functional role in signal transduction.

Key Words: Signal transduction • Cytoskeleton • Yeast • Protein interaction network

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