The polarity and organization of radial glial cells (RGCs), which serve as both stem cells and scaffolds for neuronal migration, are crucial for cortical development. However, the cytoskeletal mechanisms that drive radial glial outgrowth and maintain RGC polarity remain poorly understood. Here, we show that the Arp2/3 complex - the unique actin nucleator that produces branched actin networks - plays essential roles in RGC polarity and morphogenesis. Disruption of the Arp2/3 complex in murine RGCs retards process outgrowth toward the basal surface and impairs apical polarity and adherens junctions. Whereas the former is correlated with an abnormal actin-based leading edge, the latter is consistent with blockage in membrane trafficking. These defects result in altered cell fate, disrupted cortical lamination and abnormal angiogenesis. In addition, we present evidence that the Arp2/3 complex is a cell-autonomous regulator of neuronal migration. Our data suggest that Arp2/3-mediated actin assembly might be particularly important for neuronal cell motility in a soft or poorly adhesive matrix environment.
Keywords: Actin; Arp2/3 complex; Cortical development; Mouse; Neurogenesis; Neuronal migration; Radial glia.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.