Netrins are a family of secreted proteins that function as tropic cues directing cell and axon migration during neural development. We show that the netrin-1 receptor, deleted in colorectal cancer (DCC), is present at filopodia tips in growth cones of embryonic rat spinal commissural neurons. To further investigate DCC function, we characterized the expression of netrins and netrin receptors in HEK293T cells and NG108-15 cells and found that they express netrin-1 but do not express DCC. Ectopic expression of DCC produced a netrin-1-dependent increase in the number of filopodia and in cell surface area. Coexpression of DCC and dominant negative Cdc42 or dominant negative Rac1 blocked the increase in filopodia number and cell surface area, respectively. Furthermore, addition of netrin-1 to cells expressing DCC caused a persistent activation of Cdc42 and Rac1. These findings suggest that netrin-1, via DCC, influences cellular motility by regulating actin-based membrane extension through the activation of Cdc42 and Rac1.
©2002 Elsevier Science