A gelsolin-like actin-modulating protein was isolated from rat skeletal muscle and characterized with respect to its interaction with actin. The protein, with a molecular mass of approx. 85 kDa, forms a stoichiometric complex with two actin molecules and is activated by micromolar concentrations of Ca2+. It effectively severs actin filaments and promotes nucleation of actin polymerization. The activity of this protein is detectable already in crude extracts by its capability to reduce the steady state viscosity of actin. Actin-modulating activities were determined in muscle extracts of rats kept under protein catabolic conditions, i.e. as generated by corticosterone treatment and starvation. In both cases we found a marked increase of modulator activity. The possibility is discussed that the increased activity of actin modulator indicates a fragmentation of actin filaments prior to the proteolytic degradation of actin.

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