Fascin1, an actin-bundling protein, has been demonstrated to be critical for filopodia formation in cultured cells, and thus is believed to be vital in motile activities including neurite extension and cell migration. To test whether fascin1 plays such essential roles within a whole animal, we have generated and characterized fascin1-deficient mice. Unexpectedly, fascin1-deficient mice are viable and fertile with no major developmental defect. Nissl staining of serial coronal brain sections reveals that fascin1-deficient brain is grossly normal except that knockout mouse brain lacks the posterior region of the anterior commissure neuron and has larger lateral ventricle. Fascin1-deficient, dorsal root ganglion neurons are able to extend neurites in vitro as well as those from wild-type mice, although fascin1-deficient growth cones are smaller and exhibit fewer and shorter filopodia than wild-type counterparts. Likewise, fascin1-deficient, embryonic fibroblasts are able to assemble filopodia, though filopodia are fewer, shorter and short-lived. These results indicate that fascin1-mediated filopodia assembly is dispensable for mouse development. Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 2009. (c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.