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Neuron. 2004 Apr 8;42(1):37-49.

Critical role of Ena/VASP proteins for filopodia formation in neurons and in function downstream of netrin-1.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Ena/VASP proteins play important roles in axon outgrowth and guidance. Ena/VASP activity regulates the assembly and geometry of actin networks within fibroblast lamellipodia. In growth cones, Ena/VASP proteins are concentrated at filopodia tips, yet their role in growth cone responses to guidance signals has not been established. We found that Ena/VASP proteins play a pivotal role in formation and elongation of filopodia along neurite shafts and growth cone. Netrin-1-induced filopodia formation was dependent upon Ena/VASP function and directly correlated with Ena/VASP phosphorylation at a regulatory PKA site. Accordingly, Ena/VASP function was required for filopodial formation from the growth cone in response to global PKA activation. We propose that Ena/VASP proteins control filopodial dynamics in neurons by remodeling the actin network in response to guidance cues.

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