The formation of the branched actin networks is essential for cell polarity, but it remains unclear how the debranching activity of actin filaments contributes to this process. Here, we showed that an evolutionarily conserved coronin family protein, the Caenorhabditis elegans POD-1, debranched the Arp2/3-nucleated actin filaments in vitro. By fluorescence live imaging analysis of the endogenous POD-1 protein, we found that POD-1 colocalized with Arp2/3 at the leading edge of the migrating C. elegans neuroblasts. Conditional mutations of POD-1 in neuroblasts caused aberrant actin assembly, disrupted cell polarity, and impaired cell migration. In C. elegans one-cell−stage embryos, POD-1 and Arp2/3, moved together during cell polarity establishment, and inhibition of POD-1 blocked Arp2/3 motility and affected the polarized cortical flow, leading to symmetric segregation of cell fate determinants. Together, these results indicate that F-actin debranching organizes actin network and cell polarity in migrating neuroblasts and asymmetrically dividing embryos.
Paper Link: https://www.pnas.org/content/118/37/e2100805118