Cytoskeletal reorganization is essential for polarization and migration of many cells. Both microtubules and actin filaments are implicated in control of polarity, and the formin-family proteins that coordinate them appear to play an important part. But what exactly are the roles of the two filament networks in polarization, and to what extent are they interdependent? Laura Machesky and co-workers have addressed these questions by analysing repositioning of the Golgi and microtubule-organizing centre (MTOC) in NIH3T3 cells polarizing and migrating in response to scratch wounds (seep. 743). By introducing mutant versions of cytoskeletal regulators (e.g. N-WASP and mDia-1) and drugs that selectively interfere with actin/tubulin dynamics, they show that MTOC positioning depends on microtubules, whereas Golgi positioning is controlled by actin. Migration, by contrast, appears to require both types of filament. Interestingly, the authors are able to uncouple it from MTOC/Golgi repositioning by introducing an inhibitor of ROCK (a Rho effector that functions in actin reorganization). Their findings thus not only indicate that actin and microtubules play distinct roles in establishment of polarity but also challenge the view that Golgi/MTOC polarization and cell migration are necessarily linked.
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IN THIS ISSUE| 15 February 2003
Uncoupling polarization and migration
Online Issn: 1477-9137
Print Issn: 0021-9533
© The Company of Biologists Limited 2003
J Cell Sci (2003) 116 (4): e403.
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Uncoupling polarization and migration. J Cell Sci 15 February 2003; 116 (4): e403. doi:
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