Rac is small GTPase of the Rho family that meditates stimulus-induced actin cystokeletal reorganization to generate lamellipodia. Little is known about the signalling pathways that link Rac activation to changes in actin filament dynamics. Cofilin is known to be a potent regulator of actin filament dynamics, and its ability to bind and depolymerize actin is abolished by phosphorylation of serine residue at 3 (refs 11, 12); however, the kinases responsible for this phosphorylation have not been identified. Here show that LIM-kinase 1 (LIMK-1), a serine/threonine kinase containing LIM and PDZ domains, phosphorylates cofilin at Ser 3, both in vitro and in vivo. When expressed in cultured cells, LIMK-1 induces actin reorganization and reverses cofilin-induced actin depolymerization. Expression of an inactive form of LIMK-1 suppresses lamellipodium formation induced by Rac or insulin. Furthermore, insulin and an active form of Rac increase the activity fo LIMK-1. Taken together, our results indicate that LIMK-1 participates in Rac-mediated actin cytoskeletal reorganization, probably by phosphorylating cofilin.
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