Context: literature on muscle contraction and muscle fiber is often focused around two proteins, actin and myosin.
Here are some of the latest findings on actin from a biotechnology research group in the University of Wroclaw, in Poland:
“Actin is highly conserved and it is the most widespread protein in eukaryotic cells. One of the most important features of actin, which allows it to have many different functions, is its ability to polymerize and interact with many other proteins. Actins are the major constituent of the actin cytoskeleton, which is an important system that is involved in various aspects of cell function, including cell motility, structure, integrity, regulation of signal transduction and transcription”
“Conservation” in evolutionary biology is the equivalent of guarding a prized antique passed down between generations: it’s special and you want to keep it exactly as it is. That actin is conserved indicates how prized it is by our genes, which isn’t surprising for muscles, given how important their function is to life.
“Polymerization” refers to many actins being bound together in chains.