Posted by: Dan | March 30, 2007

Brief Mentions in the Recent Cell Migration Literature

Two recent JCS papers, from one of the top labs in the field of cell migration research (Gary Borisy’s) have been sitting on my desk lately, with intent to blog on or at least read thoroughly and mull over. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to do that. So, before they get too buried under other papers and notebooks, I wanted to make a brief mention of them at least. Titles and abstracts shown here (emphasis mine):

1) Kinetic-structural analysis of neuronal growth cone veil motility.:

Neuronal growth cone advance was investigated by correlative light and electron microscopy carried out on chick dorsal root ganglion cells. Advance was analyzed in terms of the two principal organelles responsible for protrusive motility in the growth cone – namely, veils and filopodia. Veils alternated between rapid phases of protrusion and retraction. Electron microscopy revealed characteristic structural differences between the phases. Our results provide a significant advance in three respects: first, protruding veils are comprised of a densely branched network of actin filaments that is lamellipodial in appearance and includes the Arp2/3 complex. On the basis of this structural and biomarker evidence, we infer that the dendritic nucleation and/or array-treadmilling mechanism of protrusive motility is conserved in veil protrusion of growth cones as in the motility of fibroblasts; second, retracting veils lack dendritic organization but contain a sparse network of long filaments; and third, growth cone filopodia have the capacity to nucleate dendritic networks along their length, a property consistent with veil formation seen at the light microscopic level but not previously understood in supramolecular terms. These elements of veil and filopodial organization, when taken together, provide a conceptual framework for understanding the structural basis of growth cone advance.

2) Microtubule-targeting-dependent reorganization of filopodia:

Interaction between the microtubule system and actin cytoskeleton has emerged as a fundamental process required for spatial regulation of cell protrusion and retraction activities. In our current studies, analysis of digital fluorescence images revealed targeting of microtubules to filopodia in B16F1 melanoma cells and fibroblasts. We investigated the functional consequence of targeting on filopodia reorganization and examined mechanisms by which microtubules may be guided to, or interact with, filopodia. Live cell imaging studies show that targeting events in lamellipodia wings temporally correlated with filopodia turning toward the lamellipodium midline and with filopodia merging. Rapid uncoupling of targeting with nocodazole decreased filopodia merging events and increased filopodia density. Total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy identified microtubules near the ventral surface and upward movement of targeted filopodia. The role of adhesion sites and microtubule plus-end proteins in targeting was investigated. Correlation of adhesion sites with microtubule targeting to filopodia was not observed and depletion of microtubule plus-end proteins did not significantly alter targeting frequency. We propose that microtubules target filopodia, independent of focal adhesions and plus-end proteins, causing filopodia movement and microtubules regulate filopodia density in lamellipodia wings through filopodia merging events.

  • Mongiu AK, Weitzke EL, Chaga OY, Borisy GG. Kinetic-structural analysis of neuronal growth cone veil motility. J Cell Sci. 2007 Mar 15;120(Pt 6):1113-25. Pubmed
  • Schober JM, Komarova YA, Chaga OY, Akhmanova A, Borisy GG. Microtubule-targeting-dependent reorganization of filopodia.
    J Cell Sci. 2007 Apr 1;120(Pt 7):1235-44. Pubmed


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