Cortactin branches out: roles in regulating protrusive actin dynamics

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 2008 Sep;65(9):687-707. doi: 10.1002/cm.20296.


Since its discovery in the early 1990's, cortactin has emerged as a key signaling protein in many cellular processes, including cell adhesion, migration, endocytosis, and tumor invasion. While the list of cellular functions influenced by cortactin grows, the ability of cortactin to interact with and alter the cortical actin network is central to its role in regulating these processes. Recently, several advances have been made in our understanding of the interaction between actin and cortactin, providing insight into how these two proteins work together to provide a framework for normal and altered cellular function. This review examines how regulation of cortactin through post-translational modifications and interactions with multiple binding partners elicits changes in cortical actin cytoskeletal organization, impacting the regulation and formation of actin-rich motility structures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cortactin / chemistry
  • Cortactin / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Transport
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Cortactin