Three functionally distinct adhesions in filopodia: Shaft adhesions control lamellar extension

Michael B. Steketee, Kathryn W. Tosney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


In this study, adhesions on individual filopodial shafts were shown to control veil (lamellar) advance and to be modulated by guidance cues. Adhesions were detected in individual filopodia of sensory growth cones using optical recordings, adhesion markers, and electron microscopy. Veils readily advanced along filopodia lacking shaft adhesions but rarely advanced along filopodia displaying shaft adhesions. Experiments altering adhesion showed that this relationship is not caused by veils removing adhesions as they advanced. Reducing adhesion with antibodies decreased the proportion of filopodia with shaft adhesions and coordinately increased veil advance. Moreover, the inhibitory relationship was maintained: veils still failed to advance on individual filopodia that retained shaft adhesions. These results support the idea that shaft adhesions inhibit veil advance. Of particular interest, guidance cues can act by altering shaft adhesions. When a cellular cue was contacted by a filopodial tip, veil extension and shaft adhesions altered in concert. Contact with a Schwann cell induced veil advance and inhibited shaft adhesions. In contrast, contact with a posterior sclerotome cell prohibited veil advance and promoted shaft adhesions. These results show that veil advance is controlled by shaft adhesions and that guidance signal cascades can alter veil advance by altering these adhesions. Shaft adhesions thus differ functionally from two other adhesions identified on individual filopodia. Tip adhesions suffice to signal. Basal adhesions do not influence veil advance but are critical to filopodial initiation and dynamics. Individual growth cone filopodia thus develop three functionally distinct adhesions that are vital for both motility and navigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8071-8083
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 15 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion
  • Filopodia
  • Growth cone
  • Guidance
  • Lamella
  • Schwann
  • Sclerotome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Three functionally distinct adhesions in filopodia: Shaft adhesions control lamellar extension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this