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Biophys J. 2003 Nov;85(5):3319-28.

Modeling the role of myosin 1c in neuronal growth cone turning.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Abstract

We addressed the mechanical basis for how embryonic chick dorsal root ganglion growth cones turn on a uniform substrate of laminin-1. Turning is significantly correlated with lamellipodial area but not with filopodial length. We assessed the lamellipodial contribution to turning by asymmetric micro-CALI of myosin isoforms that causes localized lamellipodial expansion (myosin 1c) or filopodial retraction (myosin V). Episodes of asymmetric micro-CALI of myosin 1c (or myosin 1c and V together) caused significant turning of the growth cone. In contrast, repeated micro-CALI of myosin V or irradiation without added antibody did not turn growth cones. These findings argue that lamellipodia and not filopodia are necessary for growth cone turning. To model the role of myosin 1c on growth cone turning, we fitted the measured trajectories from asymmetric micro-CALI of myosin 1c-treated and untreated growth cones to the persistent random walk model. The first parameter in this equation, root-mean-square speed, is indistinguishable between the two data sets whereas the second parameter, the persistence of motion, is significantly increased (2.5-fold) as a result of asymmetric inactivation of myosin 1c by micro-CALI. This analysis demonstrates that growth cone turning results from an increase in the persistence of directional motion rather than a change in speed. Taken together, our results suggest that myosin 1c is a molecular correlate for directional persistence underlying growth cone motility.

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