Growth cone collapsing factors induce growth cone collapse or repulsive growth cone turning by interacting with membrane receptors that induce alterations in the growth cone cytoskeleton. A common change induced by collapsing factors in the cytoskeleton of the peripheral domain, the thin lamellopodial area of growth cones, is a decline in the number of radially aligned F-actin bundles that form the core of filopodia. The present study examined whether ML-7, a myosin light chain kinase inhibitor, serotonin, a neurotransmitter and TPA, an activator of protein kinase C, which induce growth cone collapse of Helisoma growth cones, depolymerized or debundled F-actin. We report that these collapsing factors had different effects. ML-7 induced F-actin reorganization consistent with debundling whereas serotonin and TPA predominately depolymerized and possibly debundled F-actin. Additionally, these collapsing factors induced the formation of a dense actin-ring around the central domain, the thicker proximal area of growth cones [Zhou and Cohan, 2001: J. Cell Biol. 153:1071-1083]. The formation of the actin-ring occurred subsequent to the loss of actin bundles. The ML-7-induced actin-ring was found to inhibit microtubule extension into the P-domain. Thus, ML-7, serotonin, and TPA induce growth cone collapse associated with a decline in radially aligned F-actin bundles through at least two mechanisms involving debundling of actin filaments and/or actin depolymerization.