A single tyrosine phosphorylation site in cortactin is important for filopodia formation in neuronal growth cones

Yuan Ren, Yingpei He, Sherlene Brown, Erica Zbornik, Michael J. Mlodzianoski, Donghan Ma, Fang Huang, Seema Mattoo, Daniel M. Suter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cortactin is a Src tyrosine phosphorylation substrate that regulates multiple actinrelated cellular processes. While frequently studied in nonneuronal cells, the functions of cortactin in neuronal growth cones are not well understood. We recently reported that cortactin mediates the effects of Src tyrosine kinase in regulating actin organization and dynamics in both lamellipodia and filopodia of Aplysia growth cones. Here, we identified a single cortactin tyrosine phosphorylation site (Y499) to be important for the formation of filopodia. Overexpression of a 499F phospho-deficient cortactin mutant decreased filopodia length and density, whereas overexpression of a 499E phospho-mimetic mutant increased filopodia length. Using an antibody against cortactin pY499, we showed that tyrosine-phosphorylated cortactin is enriched along the leading edge. The leading edge localization of phosphorylated cortactin is Src2-dependent, F-actin-independent, and important for filopodia formation. In vitro kinase assays revealed that Src2 phosphorylates cortactin at Y499, although Y505 is the preferred site in vitro. Finally, we provide evidence that Arp2/3 complex acts downstream of phosphorylated cortactin to regulate density but not length of filopodia. In conclusion, we have characterized a tyrosine phosphorylation site in Aplysia cortactin that plays a major role in the Src/cortactin/Arp2/3 signaling pathway controlling filopodia formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1817-1833
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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