Alpha actinins belong to the spectrin gene superfamily which represents a diverse group of cytoskeletal proteins, including the alpha and beta spectrins and dystrophins. Alpha actinin is an actin-binding protein with multiple roles in different cell types. In nonmuscle cells, the cytoskeletal isoform is found along microfilament bundles and adherens-type junctions, where it is involved in binding actin to the membrane. In contrast, skeletal, cardiac, and smooth muscle isoforms are localized to the Z-disc and analogous dense bodies, where they help anchor the myofibrillar actin filaments. This gene encodes a nonmuscle, cytoskeletal, alpha actinin isoform and maps to the same site as the structurally similar erythroid beta spectrin gene. Three transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.
Alternative names and synonyms associated with ACTN1