Rho family proteins are known to regulate actin organization in fibroblasts, but their functions in cells of haematopoietic origin have not been studied in detail. Bac1.2F5 cells are a colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1)-dependent murine macrophage cell line; CSF-1 stimulates their proliferation and motility, and acts as a chemoattractant. CSF-1 rapidly induced actin reorganization in Bac1 cells: it stimulated the formation of filopodia, lamellipodia and membrane ruffles at the plasma membrane, as well as the appearance of fine actin cables within the cell interior. Microinjection of constitutively activated (V12)Rac1 stimulated lamellipodium formation and membrane ruffling. The dominant inhibitory Rac mutant, N17Rac1, inhibited CSF-1-induced lamellipodium formation, and also induced cell rounding. V12Cdc42 induced the formation of long filopodia, while the dominant inhibitory mutant N17Cdc42 prevented CSF-1-induced formation of filopodia but not lamellipodia. V14RhoA stimulated actin cable assembly and cell contraction, while the Rho inhibitor, C3 transferase, induced the loss of actin cables. Bac1 cells had cell-to-substratum adhesion sites containing beta1 integrin, pp125FAK, paxillin, vinculin, and tyrosine phosphorylated proteins. These ‘focal complexes’ were present in growing and CSF-1-starved cells, but were disassembled in cells injected with N17Cdc42 or N17Rac1. Interestingly, beta1 integrin did not disperse until long after focal phosphotyrosine and vinculin staining had disappeared. We conclude that in Bac1 macrophages Cdc42, Rac and Rho regulate the formation of distinct actin filament-based structures, and that Cdc42 and Rac are also required for the assembly of adhesion sites to the extracellular matrix.

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