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Feng-Song Wang , Ph.D.

Office: Gyte 289
Telephone: (219) 989-2152


Ph.D. Rutgers University -1993

Research Interests

Cell biology: cytoskeleton and cell motility; neurobiology: development and axon guidance.


       Directed growth cone movement, mainly an actin-based cell motility, guides the pathfinding of a growing neurite during the formation of nervous system. A growth cone is the motile and growing tip of an axon and the site of decision-making in axonal pathfinding. It consists of two distinct structures: the long, finger-like projections called filopodia and the veil-like protrusions called lamellipodia. Filopodia and lamellipodia have been shown to play different roles in axonal pathfinding: filopodia act as antennae that detect and respond to the environment while lamellipodia provide the major site for adhesive contacts and the mechanical basis for growth cone motility. Previous studies demonstrated that specific actin-associated proteins and actin-based motors function in specific aspects of filopodial and lamellipodial motility, suggesting that sets of proteins act together to generate and control actin-based motility in growth cone pathfinding. Our goals are to illustrate the function of individual members of myosin superfamily in filopodial and lamellipodial motility and in growth cone turning. To accomplish the objective, chromophore-assisted laser inactivation (CALI) technique in combination with advanced live cell imaging techniques, micromanipulations, and molecular techniques and various pharmacological inhibitors will be employed to dissect the function of myosins in vivo. Advancement of our studies will offer insight into the role of myosins in axonal pathfinding and cellular motility in general, enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the neuronal outgrowth and axonal pathfinding, and help in finding cues for spinal cord injuries and loss of function caused by neurological disorders.


2000, 2005 Purdue Research Foundation summer research award
2006 Purdue University Discovery Park Scholar

Selected Publications:

(abstracts are linked to authors name, please click to view)

., and E. Bonder. Sea Urchin Egg Villin: Identification of Villin a non-Epithelial Cell from an Invertebrate Species. J. Cell Sci. 100:61-71, (1991).

., J. S. Wolenski, R. E. Cheney, M. S. Mooseker and D. G. Jay. Function of Myosin V in Filopodial Extension of Neuronal Growth Cones. Science 273:660-663, (1996).

Sydor, A. M., A. L. Su, , A. Xu and D. G. Jay. Talin and Vinculin Play Distinct Roles in Filopodial Motility in the Neuronal Growth Cone. J. Cell Biol. 134:1197-1207, (1996).

and D. G. Jay. Chromophore-Assisted Laser Inactivation (CALI): Probing Protein Function in situ with a High Degree of Spatial and Temporal Resolution. Trends in Cell Biol. 6:444-447, (1996).

Jung, C., J. Yabe, and T. B. Shea. Neurofilament subunits can undergo axonal transport without incorporation into Triton-insoluble structures. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 40: 44-58, (1998).

Takei, K., T. A. Chan, , H. Deng, U. Rutishauser and D. G. Jay. The neural cell adhesion molecules L1 and NCAM-180 act in different steps of neurite outgrowth. J Neurosci. 19: 9469-79, (1999).

Yabe, J. T., T. Chylinski, , A. Pimenta, S. D. Kattar, M. Linsley, W. Chan, and T. B. Shea. Neurofilaments Consist of Distinct Populations That Can Be Distinguished by C-Terminal Phosphorylation, Bundling, and Axonal Transport Rate in Growing Axonal Neurites. J. Neurosci. 21: 2195-205, (2001).

Yabe JT, , T. Chylinski, T. Katchmar and T. B. Shea. Selective Accumulation of the high molecular weight neurofilament protein within the distal region of growing axonal neurites. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 50:1-20, (2001).

Yabe JT, W. K.-H. Chan, , A. Pimenta, D. D. Ortiz and T. B. Shea. Regulation of the transition from vimentin to neurofilaments during neuronal differentiation. Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton. 56:193-205, (2003).

., Liu CW, Diefenbach TJ, and D. G. Jay. Modeling the role of myosin 1c in neuronal growth cone turning. Biophys J. 85:3319-28, (2003).

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