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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Mar;17(3):1201-11.

Rho family GTPases and neuronal growth cone remodelling: relationship between increased complexity induced by Cdc42Hs, Rac1, and acetylcholine and collapse induced by RhoA and lysophosphatidic acid.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom.


Rho family GTPases have been assigned important roles in the formation of actin-based morphologies in nonneuronal cells. Here we show that microinjection of Cdc42Hs and Rac1 promoted formation of filopodia and lamellipodia in N1E-115 neuroblastoma growth cones and along neurites. These actin-containing structures were also induced by injection of Clostridium botulinum C3 exoenzyme, which abolishes RhoA-mediated functions such as neurite retraction. The C3 response was inhibited by coinjection with the dominant negative mutant Cdc42Hs(T17N), while the Cdc42Hs response could be competed by coinjection with RhoA. We also demonstrate that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) can induce filopodia and lamellipodia on neuroblastoma growth cones via muscarinic ACh receptor activation, but only when applied in a concentration gradient. ACh-induced formation of filopodia and lamellipodia was inhibited by preinjection with the dominant negative mutants Cdc42Hs(T17N) and Rac1(T17N), respectively. Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA)-induced neurite retraction, which is mediated by RhoA, was inhibited by ACh, while C3 exoenzyme-mediated neurite outgrowth was inhibited by injection with Cdc42Hs(T17N) or Rac1(T17N). Together these results suggest that there is competition between the ACh- and LPA-induced morphological pathways mediated by Cdc42Hs and/or Rac1 and by RhoA, leading to either neurite development or collapse.

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