Filopodia: molecular architecture and cellular functions

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Jun;9(6):446-54. doi: 10.1038/nrm2406. Epub 2008 May 9.


Filopodia are thin, actin-rich plasma-membrane protrusions that function as antennae for cells to probe their environment. Consequently, filopodia have an important role in cell migration, neurite outgrowth and wound healing and serve as precursors for dendritic spines in neurons. The initiation and elongation of filopodia depend on the precisely regulated polymerization, convergence and crosslinking of actin filaments. The increased understanding of the functions of various actin-associated proteins during the initiation and elongation of filopodia has provided new information on the mechanisms of filopodia formation in distinct cell types.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pseudopodia / chemistry*
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism
  • Pseudopodia / physiology*