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J Cell Biol. 2004 May 10;165(3):407-19.

The Abl-related gene (Arg) requires its F-actin-microtubule cross-linking activity to regulate lamellipodial dynamics during fibroblast adhesion.

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Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, SHMC-E31, 333 Cedar St., New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Microtubules (MTs) help establish and maintain cell polarity by promoting actin-dependent membrane protrusion at the leading edge of the cell, but the molecular mechanisms that mediate cross-talk between actin and MTs during this process are unclear. We demonstrate that the Abl-related gene (Arg) nonreceptor tyrosine kinase is required for dynamic lamellipodial protrusions after adhesion to fibronectin. arg-/- fibroblasts exhibit reduced lamellipodial dynamics as compared with wild-type fibroblasts, and this defect can be rescued by reexpression of an Arg-yellow fluorescent protein fusion. We show that Arg can bind MTs with high affinity and cross-link filamentous actin (F-actin) bundles and MTs in vitro. MTs concentrate and insert into Arg-induced F-actin-rich cell protrusions. Arg requires both its F-actin-binding domains and its MT-binding domain to rescue the defects in lamellipodial dynamics of arg-/- fibroblasts. These findings demonstrate that Arg can mediate physical contact between F-actin and MTs at the cell periphery and that this cross-linking activity is required for Arg to regulate lamellipodial dynamics in fibroblasts.

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