IRSp53 coordinates AMPK and 14-3-3 signaling to regulate filopodia dynamics and directed cell migration

David J. Kast, Roberto Dominguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Filopodia are actin-filled membrane protrusions that play essential roles in cell motility and cell–cell communication and act as precursors of dendritic spines. IRSp53 is an essential regulator of filopodia formation, which couples Rho-GTPase signaling to actin cytoskeleton and membrane remodeling. IRSp53 has three major domains: an N-terminal inverse-BAR (I-BAR) domain, a Cdc42- and SH3-binding CRIB-PR domain, and an SH3 domain that binds downstream cytoskeletal effectors. Phosphorylation sites in the region between the CRIB-PR and SH3 domains mediate the binding of 14-3-3. Yet the mechanism by which 14-3-3 regulates filopodia formation and dynamics and its role in cell migration are poorly understood. Here, we show that phosphorylation-dependent inhibition of IRSp53 by 14-3-3 counters activation by Cdc42 and cytoskeletal effectors, resulting in down-regulation of filopodia dynamics and cancer cell migration. In serum-starved cells, increased IRSp53 phosphorylation triggers 14-3-3 binding, which inhibits filopodia formation and dynamics, irrespective of whether IRSp53 is activated by Cdc42 or downstream effectors (Eps8, Ena/ VASP). Pharmacological activation or inhibition of AMPK, respectively, increases or decreases the phosphorylation of two of three sites in IRSp53 implicated in 14-3-3 binding. Mutating these phosphorylation sites reverses 14-3-3-dependent inhibition of filopodia dynamics and cancer cell chemotaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285-1297
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019


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