Collapsin response mediator protein 4 regulates growth cone dynamics through the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton

J Biol Chem. 2014 Oct 24;289(43):30133-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.570440. Epub 2014 Sep 15.


Coordinated control of the growth cone cytoskeleton underlies axon extension and guidance. Members of the collapsin response mediator protein (CRMP) family of cytosolic phosphoproteins regulate the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton, but their roles in regulating growth cone dynamics remain largely unexplored. Here, we examine how CRMP4 regulates the growth cone cytoskeleton. Hippocampal neurons from CRMP4-/- mice exhibited a selective decrease in axon extension and reduced growth cone area, whereas overexpression of CRMP4 enhanced the formation and length of growth cone filopodia. Biochemically, CRMP4 can impact both microtubule assembly and F-actin bundling in vitro. Through a structure function analysis of CRMP4, we found that the effects of CRMP4 on axon growth and growth cone morphology were dependent on microtubule assembly, whereas filopodial extension relied on actin bundling. Intriguingly, anterograde movement of EB3 comets, which track microtubule protrusion, slowed significantly in neurons derived from CRMP4-/- mice, and rescue of microtubule dynamics required CRMP4 activity toward both the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. Together, this study identified a dual role for CRMP4 in regulating the actin and microtubule growth cone cytoskeleton.

Keywords: Axon; CRMP; Cell Biology; Cytoskeleton; Growth Cone; Microfilaments; Microtubule; Neurodevelopment; Neuroscience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Cell Size
  • Female
  • Growth Cones / metabolism*
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / chemistry
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / deficiency
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Crmp-4 protein, mouse
  • EB3 protein, mouse
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Tubulin