Growth cone macropinocytosis of neurotrophin receptor and neuritogenesis are regulated by neuron navigator 1

Mol Biol Cell. 2022 Jun 1;33(7):ar64. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E21-12-0623. Epub 2022 Mar 30.


Neuron navigator 1 (Nav1) is a cytoskeleton-associated protein expressed during brain development that is necessary for proper neuritogenesis, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we show that Nav1 is present in elongating axon tracts during mouse brain embryogenesis. We found that depletion of Nav1 in cultured neurons disrupts growth cone morphology and neurotrophin-stimulated neuritogenesis. In addition to regulating both F-actin and microtubule properties, Nav1 promotes actin-rich membrane ruffles in the growth cone and promotes macropinocytosis at those membrane ruffles, including internalization of the TrkB receptor for the neurotrophin brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). Growth cone macropinocytosis is important for downstream signaling, neurite targeting, and membrane recycling, implicating Nav1 in one or more of these processes. Depletion of Nav1 also induces transient membrane blebbing via disruption of signaling in the Rho GTPase signaling pathway, supporting the novel role of Nav1 in dynamic actin-based membrane regulation at the cell periphery. These data demonstrate that Nav1 works at the interface of microtubules, actin, and plasma membrane to organize the cell periphery and promote uptake of growth and guidance cues to facilitate neural morphogenesis during development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Growth Cones* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Receptors, Nerve Growth Factor