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Cytoskeletal remodeling in leukocyte function

Fenteany, Gabriela; Glogauer, Michaelb

Current Opinion in Hematology: January 2004 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 15-24
Myeloid biology

Purpose of review This review focuses on recent developments in understanding the roles and regulation of the cytoskeleton in the function of leukocytes.

Recent findings New studies have shed light on the regulation and dynamics of actin and microtubules in leukocytes relevant both to cell motility generally and to immune function specifically. The roles of cytoskeletal dynamics in processes such as cell activation, cell migration, and phagocytosis are being elucidated. Dramatic progress has been made recently in understanding the mechanisms of leukocyte directional sensing, polarization, and chemotaxis.

Summary Leukocytes need to be activated, polarize, change shape, move, or phagocytose in response to their environment. Leukocytes accomplish these processes by remodeling their cytoskeleton, the active musculoskeletal system of the cell that is not just the ultimate effector of motile responses but is also a dynamic framework for subcellular organization and regional signaling. Active areas of research include the direct and indirect reciprocal interactions between the cytoskeleton and the membrane and among cytoskeletal elements. The pervasive and multi-layered roles played by small GTPases of the Rho family and phosphoinositides in leukocyte function are also becoming clearer.

aDepartment of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA, and bCanadian Institutes of Health Research, Group in Matrix Dynamics, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence to Gabriel Fenteany, PhD, Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607-7061, USA

Tel: 312 996 8542; fax: 312 996 0431; e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.