Expression of the naturally occurring truncated trkB neurotrophin receptor induces outgrowth of filopodia and processes in neuroblastoma cells.
We have investigated the effects of the truncated trkB receptor isoform T1 (trkB.T1) by transient transfection into mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells. We observed that expression of trkB.T1 leads to a striking change in cell morphology characterized by outgrowth of filopodia and processes. A similar morphological response was also observed in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells and NIH3T3 fibroblasts transfected with trkB.T1. N2a cells lack endogenous expression of trkB isoforms, but express barely detectable amounts of its ligands, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4). The morphological change was ligand-independent, since addition of exogenous BDNF or NT-4 or blockade of endogenous trkB ligands did not influence this response. Filopodia and process outgrowth was significantly suppressed when full-length trkB.TK+ was cotransfected together with trkB.T1 and this inhibitory effect was blocked by tyrosine kinase inhibitor K252a. Transfection of trkB.T1 deletion mutants showed that the morphological response is dependent on the extracellular, but not the intracellular domain of the receptor. Our results suggest a novel ligand-independent role for truncated trkB in the regulation of cellular morphology. (+info
Freeze-fracture studies of the developing cell surface. II. Particle-free membrane blisters on glutaraldehyde-fixed corneal fibroblasts are artefacts.
We describe, in sections and by freeze-fracture, four classes of intramembrane particle (IMP)-free membrane blebs or "blisters" associated with glutaraldehyde-fixed embryonic corneal fibroblasts: (a) Single blisters attached to the cell membrane; (b) free (detached) vesicles; (c) myelin figures; (d) multivesicular protrusions which resemble the "mounds" described by others on nerve growth cones. The IMP-free, membrane-bounded blisters contain no ground cytoplasm or organelles, in contrast to blebs on trypsin-isolated fibroblasts, which we show here do contain cytoplasm and IMP-rich membranes. That the IMP-free membrane blisters in embryonic corneas are artefacts of fixation is demonstrated by (a) their absence in replicas of fibroblasts frozen and fractured without prior aldehyde fixation and (b) their absence in sections of fibroblasts fixed in a combination of glutaraldehyde and osmium tetroxide. We suggest that the addition of osmium prevents postfixation movement of membrane lipids, especially the negatively charged "fluid" lipids which others have shown are capable of considerable mobility after aldehyde fixation alone. Recent literature has implicated membrane blistering in secretory processes and in growth of nerves, but before the functional significance of such IMP-free blisters is assessed, membrane mobility of the type shown here should be taken into consideration. (+info
The small GTPase RalA targets filamin to induce filopodia.
The Ras-related small GTPases Rac, Rho, Cdc42, and RalA bind filamin, an actin filament-crosslinking protein that also links membrane and other intracellular proteins to actin. Of these GTPases only RalA binds filamin in a GTP-specific manner, and GTP-RalA elicits actin-rich filopods on surfaces of Swiss 3T3 cells and recruits filamin into the filopodial cytoskeleton. Either a dominant negative RalA construct or the RalA-binding domain of filamin 1 specifically block Cdc42-induced filopod formation, but a Cdc42 inhibitor does not impair RalA's effects, which, unlike Cdc42, are Rac independent. RalA does not generate filopodia in filamin-deficient human melanoma cells, whereas transfection of filamin 1 restores the functional response. RalA therefore is a downstream intermediate in Cdc42-mediated filopod production and uses filamin in this pathway. (+info
Rapid dendritic morphogenesis in CA1 hippocampal dendrites induced by synaptic activity.
Activity shapes the structure of neurons and their circuits. Two-photon imaging of CA1 neurons expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein in developing hippocampal slices from rat brains was used to characterize dendritic morphogenesis in response to synaptic activity. High-frequency focal synaptic stimulation induced a period (longer than 30 minutes) of enhanced growth of small filopodia-like protrusions (typically less than 5 micrometers long). Synaptically evoked growth was long-lasting and localized to dendritic regions close (less than 50 micrometers) to the stimulating electrode and was prevented by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Thus, synaptic activation can produce rapid input-specific changes in dendritic structure. Such persistent structural changes could contribute to the development of neural circuitry. (+info
The role of local actin instability in axon formation.
The role of localized instability of the actin network in specifying axonal fate was examined with the use of rat hippocampal neurons in culture. During normal neuronal development, actin dynamics and instability polarized to a single growth cone before axon formation. Consistently, global application of actin-depolymerizing drugs and of the Rho-signaling inactivator toxin B to nonpolarized cells produced neurons with multiple axons. Moreover, disruption of the actin network in one individual growth cone induced its neurite to become the axon. Thus, local instability of the actin network restricted to a single growth cone is a physiological signal specifying neuronal polarization. (+info
Filopodial adhesion does not predict growth cone steering events in vivo.
Migration of growth cones is in part mediated by adhesive interactions between filopodia and the extracellular environment, transmitting forces and signals necessary for pathfinding. To elucidate the role of substrate adhesivity in growth cone pathfinding, we developed an in vivo assay for measuring filopodial-substrate adhesivity using the well-characterized Ti pioneer neuron pathway of the embryonic grasshopper limb. Using time-lapse imaging and a combination of rhodamine-phalloidin injections and DiI labeling, we demonstrate that the filopodial retraction rate after treatment with cytochalasin D or elastase reflects the degree of filopodial-substrate adhesivity. Measurements of filopodial retraction rates along regions of known differing substrate adhesivities confirmed the use of this assay to examine filopodial-substrate adhesion during in vivo pathfinding events. We analyzed 359 filopodia from 22 Ti growth cones and found that there is no difference between the retraction rates of filopodia extending toward the correct target (on-axis) and filopodia extending away from the correct target (off-axis). These results indicate on-axis and off-axis filopodia have similar substrate adherence. Interestingly, we observed a 300% increase in the extension rates of on-axis filopodia during Ti growth cone turning events. Therefore, in addition to providing filopodia with important guidance information, regional cues are capable of modulating the filopodial extension rate. The homogeneity in filopodial retraction rates, even among these turning growth cones in which differential adhesivity might be expected to be greatest, strongly establishes that differential adhesion does not govern Ti pioneer neuron migration rate or pathfinding. We propose that the presence of local differences in receptor-mediated second messenger cascades and the resulting assembly of force-generating machinery may underlie the ability of filopodial contacts to regulate growth cone steering in vivo. (+info
2E4 (kaptin): a novel actin-associated protein from human blood platelets found in lamellipodia and the tips of the stereocilia of the inner ear.
Platelet activation, crucial for hemostasis, requires actin polymerization, yet the molecular mechanisms by which localized actin polymerization is mediated are not clear. Here we report the characterization of a novel actin-binding protein, 2E4, originally isolated from human blood platelets and likely to be involved in the actin rearrangements occurring during activation. 2E4 binds to filamentous (F)-actin by F-actin affinity chromatography and is eluted from F-actin affinity columns and extracted from cells with ATP. Its presence at the leading edge of platelets spread on glass and in the lamellipodia of motile fibroblasts suggests a role in actin dynamics. Using localization to obtain clues about function, we stained the sensory epithelium of the embryonic inner ear to determine whether 2E4 is at the barbed end of actin filaments during their elongation. Indeed, 2E4 was present at the tips of the elongating stereocilium. 2E4 is novel by DNA sequence and has no identifiable structural motifs. Its unusual amino acid sequence, its ATP-sensitive actin association and its location at sites of actin polymerization in cells suggest 2E4 plays a unique role in the actin rearrangements that accompany platelet activation and stereocilia formation. (+info
Inducible recruitment of Cdc42 or WASP to a cell-surface receptor triggers actin polymerization and filopodium formation.
BACKGROUND: Cdc42, a GTP-binding protein of the Rho family, controls actin cytoskeletal organization and helps to generate actin-based protruding structures, such as filopodia. In vitro, Cdc42 regulates actin polymerization by facilitating the creation of free barbed ends - the more rapidly growing ends of actin filaments - and subsequent elongation at these ends. The Wiskott- Aldrich syndrome protein, WASP, which has a pleckstrin-homology domain and a Cdc42/Rac-binding motif, has been implicated in cell signaling and cytoskeleton reorganization. We have investigated the consequences of local recruitment of activated Cdc42 or WASP to the plasma membrane. RESULTS: We used an activated Cdc42 protein that could be recruited to an engineered membrane receptor by adding rapamycin as a bridge, and added antibody-coupled beads to aggregate these receptors. Inducible recruitment of Cdc42 to clusters of receptors stimulated actin polymerization, resulting in the formation of membrane protrusions. Cdc42-induced protrusions were enriched in the vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein VASP and the focal-adhesion-associated proteins zyxin and ezrin. The Cdc42 effector WASP could also induce the formation of protrusions, albeit of different morphology. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first demonstration that the local recruitment of activated Cdc42 or its downstream effector, WASP, to a membrane receptor in whole cells is sufficient to trigger actin polymerization that results in the formation of membrane protrusions. Our data suggest that Cdc42-induced actin-based protrusions result from the local and serial recruitment of cytoskeletal proteins including zyxin, VASP, and ezrin. (+info