Cortactin was first identified over a decade ago, and its initial characterization as both an F-actin binding protein and v-Src substrate suggested that it was likely to be a key regulator of actin rearrangements in response to tyrosine kinase signalling. The recent discovery that cortactin binds and activates the actin related protein (Arp)2/3 complex, and thus regulates the formation of branched actin networks, together with the identification of multiple protein targets of the cortactin SH3 domain, have revealed diverse cellular roles for this protein. This article reviews current knowledge regarding the role of cortactin in signalling to the actin cytoskeleton in the context of these developments.

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