During development, cells dynamically move or extend their processes, which are achieved by actin dynamics. In the present study, we paid attention to Coactosin, an actin binding protein, and studied its role in actin dynamics. Coactosin was associated with actin and Capping protein in neural crest cells and N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells. Accumulation of Coactosin to cellular processes and its association with actin filaments prompted us to reveal the effect of Coactosin on cell migration. Coactosin overexpression induced cellular processes in cultured neural crest cells. In contrast, knock-down of Coactosin resulted in disruption of actin polymerization and of neural crest cell migration. Importantly, Coactosin was recruited to lamellipodia and filopodia in response to Rac signaling, and mutated Coactosin that cannot bind to F-actin did not react to Rac signaling, nor support neural crest cell migration. It was also shown that deprivation of Rac signaling from neural crest cells by dominant negative Rac1 (DN-Rac1) interfered with neural crest cell migration, and that co-transfection of DN-Rac1 and Coactosin restored neural crest cell migration. From these results we have concluded that Coactosin functions downstream of Rac signaling and that it is involved in neurite extension and neural crest cell migration by actively participating in actin polymerization.
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