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Lamellipodia vs. Filopodia: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 9, 2024
Lamellipodia are broad, sheet-like cellular protrusions involved in cell movement, while filopodia are slender, rod-like extensions that sense the environment.

Key Differences

Lamellipodia are characterized by their broad, flat appearance, formed by a network of actin filaments. They play a crucial role in cell migration. Filopodia, in contrast, are thin, spike-like projections composed of parallel bundles of actin filaments and are essential for sensing the cellular environment.
The formation of lamellipodia involves the rapid polymerization of actin filaments at the leading edge of the cell, facilitating forward movement. Filopodia, on the other hand, extend from the plasma membrane and are involved in probing the surrounding matrix and initiating contact with other cells.
Lamellipodia are typically found at the leading edge of migrating cells, such as in wound healing or cancer cell invasion. Filopodia are often observed in neuronal growth cones, aiding in guidance and adhesion during neural development.
In lamellipodia, the actin network is more branched and less ordered, supporting their role in cell spreading. Filopodia, due to their tight actin filament bundles, are more rigid, allowing them to function as antennae for cells.
The dynamics of lamellipodia are regulated by various proteins, including those of the Rho family of GTPases. Filopodia formation is influenced by factors like Fascin and Ena/VASP proteins, which stabilize and extend the actin filaments.

Comparison Chart


Broad, sheet-like
Slender, rod-like

Actin Arrangement

Branched network
Parallel bundles


Cell movement
Environmental sensing


Leading edge of cells
Extends from plasma membrane


Rapid actin polymerization
Stabilized by specific proteins

Lamellipodia and Filopodia Definitions


Web-like extensions formed by branching actin filaments.
Lamellipodia formation was crucial for the fibroblast to navigate the extracellular matrix.


Protrusions contributing to the guidance of migrating cells.
Filopodia were observed directing the path of the migrating neuron.


Flat, broad protrusions of a cell, facilitating movement.
The lamellipodia extended rapidly as the cell moved towards the chemoattractant.


Rigid structures made of parallel actin filaments.
The filopodia on the immune cell were searching for antigens.


Actin-driven extensions contributing to cell motility.
In response to the wound, epithelial cells formed lamellipodia to close the gap.


Thin, finger-like cellular extensions for probing the environment.
Filopodia extended from the growth cone, exploring the surrounding area.


Cellular structures associated with migration and spreading.
Cancer cells displayed extensive lamellipodia during metastasis.


Stiff, actin-rich extensions for cellular communication.
The endothelial cell formed filopodia to contact adjacent cells.


Dynamic, sheet-like projections at the cell's leading edge.
The neuron's lamellipodia were prominent during axonal pathfinding.


Sensory organelles aiding in cell-cell interactions.
During embryonic development, filopodia helped cells establish connections.


Plural of lamellipodium


Plural of filopodium


What are lamellipodia?

Lamellipodia are flat, broad cell protrusions aiding in cell movement.

What is the structure of lamellipodia?

They have a branched actin network.

Where are lamellipodia found?

At the leading edge of migrating cells.

How do lamellipodia contribute to wound healing?

By facilitating cell movement towards the wound site.

What are filopodia?

Thin, rod-like cell extensions for sensing the environment.

What makes up filopodia?

Parallel bundles of actin filaments.

What function do filopodia serve?

They help in probing the environment and cell-cell contacts.

What role do lamellipodia play in cells?

They are crucial for cell migration and spreading.

Are filopodia found in all cell types?

Mostly in cells requiring environmental sensing, like neurons.

Is there a connection between lamellipodia and cancer?

Yes, cancer cells use lamellipodia for invasion and metastasis.

Do lamellipodia respond to external stimuli?

Yes, they respond to various chemical and physical cues.

How do filopodia aid in neural development?

By guiding neuronal growth cones.

What role do filopodia play in immune response?

They help immune cells in antigen searching.

What stabilizes the structure of filopodia?

Proteins like Fascin and Ena/VASP.

Can lamellipodia affect cell shape?

Yes, they contribute to changes in cell morphology.

Do filopodia participate in cellular adhesion?

Yes, they can facilitate adhesion to other cells or the matrix.

Can lamellipodia and filopodia coexist in the same cell?

Yes, cells can have both structures simultaneously.

Are lamellipodia temporary structures?

Yes, they form and disassemble as needed for cell movement.

What regulates lamellipodia formation?

Proteins like Rho family GTPases.

How do filopodia differ in function from lamellipodia?

Filopodia sense the environment, while lamellipodia aid in movement.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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