Mena is required for neurulation and commissure formation.
Mammalian enabled (Mena) is a member of a protein family thought to link signal transduction pathways to localized remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. Mena binds directly to Profilin, an actin-binding protein that modulates actin polymerization. In primary neurons, Mena is concentrated at the tips of growth cone filopodia. Mena-deficient mice are viable; however, axons projecting from interhemispheric cortico-cortical neurons are misrouted in early neonates, and failed decussation of the corpus callosum as well as defects in the hippocampal commissure and the pontocerebellar pathway are evident in the adult. Mena-deficient mice that are heterozygous for a Profilin I deletion die in utero and display defects in neurulation, demonstrating an important functional role for Mena in regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.