Profilin: many facets of a small protein.Biophys Rev. 2020 Jul 13 [Online ahead of print]BR
Profilin is a ubiquitously expressed protein well known as a key regulator of actin polymerisation. The actin cytoskeleton is involved in almost all cellular processes including motility, endocytosis, metabolism, signal transduction and gene transcription. Hence, profilin's role in the cell goes beyond its direct and essential function in regulating actin dynamics. This review will focus on the interactions of Profilin 1 and its ligands at the plasma membrane, in the cytoplasm and the nucleus of the cells and the regulation of profilin activity within those cell compartments. We will discuss the interactions of profilin in cell signalling pathways and highlight the importance of the cell context in the multiple functions that this small essential protein has in conjunction with its role in cytoskeletal organisation and dynamics. We will review some of the mechanisms that control profilin expression and the implications of changed expression of profilin in the light of cancer biology and other pathologies.