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Protrusion growth driven by myosin-generated force


Fitz GNGillian N , Weck MLMeredith L , Bodnya CCaroline , Perkins OLOlivia L , Tyska MJMatthew J . Developmental cell. 2023 1 9; 58(1). 18-33


Actin-based protrusions extend from the surface of all eukaryotic cells, where they support diverse activities essential for life. Models of protrusion growth hypothesize that actin filament assembly exerts force for pushing the plasma membrane outward. However, membrane-associated myosin motors are also abundant in protrusions, although their potential for contributing, growth-promoting force remains unexplored. Using an inducible system that docks myosin motor domains to membrane-binding modules with temporal control, we found that application of myosin-generated force to the membrane is sufficient for driving robust protrusion elongation in human, mouse, and pig cell culture models. Protrusion growth scaled with motor accumulation, required barbed-end-directed force, and was independent of cargo delivery or recruitment of canonical elongation factors. Application of growth-promoting force was also supported by structurally distinct myosin motors and membrane-binding modules. Thus, myosin-generated force can drive protrusion growth, and this mechanism is likely active in diverse biological contexts.