Milos’s paper is out in Elife
December 21, 2014
Dynamic recruitment of the curvature-sensitive protein ArhGAP44 to nanoscale membrane deformations limits exploratory filopodia initiation in neurons.
In the vertebrate central nervous system, exploratory filopodia transiently form on dendritic branches to sample the neuronal environment and initiate new trans-neuronal contacts. While much is known about the molecules that control filopodia extension and subsequent maturation into functional synapses, the mechanisms that regulate initiation of these dynamic, actin-rich structures have remained elusive. Here, we find that filopodia initiation is suppressed by recruitment of ArhGAP44 to actin-patches that seed filopodia. Recruitment is mediated by binding of a membrane curvature-sensing ArhGAP44 N-BAR domain to plasma membrane sections that were deformed inward by acto-myosin mediated contractile forces. A GAP domain in ArhGAP44 triggers local Rac-GTP hydrolysis, thus reducing actin polymerization required for filopodia formation. Additionally, ArhGAP44 expression increases during neuronal development, concurrent with a decrease in the rate of filopodia formation. Together, our data reveals a local auto-regulatory mechanism that limits initiation of filopodia via protein recruitment to nanoscale membrane deformations.