Neural crest cells (NCCs) migrate throughout the embryo to differentiate into cell types of all germ layers. Initial directed NCC emigration relies on planar cell polarity (PCP), which through the activity of the small GTPases RhoA and Rac governs the actin-driven formation of polarized cell protrusions. We found that the actin binding protein calponin 2 (Cnn2) was expressed in protrusions at the leading edge of migratory NCCs in chicks and frogs. Cnn2 knockdown resulted in NCC migration defects in frogs and chicks and randomized outgrowth of cell protrusions in NCC explants. Morphant cells showed central stress fibers at the expense of the peripheral actin network. Cnn2 acted downstream of Wnt/PCP, as migration defects induced by dominant-negative Wnt11 or inhibition of RhoA function were rescued by Cnn2 knockdown. These results suggest that Cnn2 modulates actin dynamics during NCC migration as an effector of noncanonical Wnt/PCP signaling.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)