Activation of rac and cdc42 video imaged by fluorescent resonance energy transfer-based single-molecule probes in the membrane of living cells.
ABSTRACT: Rho family G proteins, including Rac and Cdc42, regulate a variety of cellular functions such as morphology, motility, and gene expression. We developed fluorescent resonance energy transfer-based probes which monitored the local balance between the activities of guanine nucleotide exchange factors and GTPase-activating proteins for Rac1 and Cdc42 at the membrane. These probes, named Raichu-Rac and Raichu-Cdc42, consisted of a Cdc42- and Rac-binding domain of Pak, Rac1 or Cdc42, a pair of green fluorescent protein mutants, and a CAAX box of Ki-Ras. With these probes, we video imaged the Rac and Cdc42 activities. In motile HT1080 cells, activities of both Rac and Cdc42 gradually increased toward the leading edge and decreased rapidly when cells changed direction. Under a higher magnification, we observed that Rac activity was highest immediately behind the leading edge, whereas Cdc42 activity was most prominent at the tip of the leading edge. Raichu-Rac and Raichu-Cdc42 were also applied to a rapid and simple assay for the analysis of putative guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) in living cells. Among six putative GEFs and GAPs, we identified KIAA0362/DBS as a GEF for Rac and Cdc42, KIAA1256 as a GEF for Cdc42, KIAA0053 as a GAP for Rac and Cdc42, and KIAA1204 as a GAP for Cdc42. In conclusion, use of these single-molecule probes to determine Rac and Cdc42 activity will accelerate the analysis of the spatiotemporal regulation of Rac and Cdc42 in a living cell.
Project description:The signaling pathways mediated by Rho family GTPases have been implicated in many aspects of cell biology. The specificity of the pathways is achieved in part by the selective interaction between Dbl family guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and their Rho GTPase substrates. Here, we report a first-generation small-molecule inhibitor of Rac GTPase targeting Rac activation by GEF. The chemical compound NSC23766 was identified by a structure-based virtual screening of compounds that fit into a surface groove of Rac1 known to be critical for GEF specification. In vitro it could effectively inhibit Rac1 binding and activation by the Rac-specific GEF Trio or Tiam1 in a dose-dependent manner without interfering with the closely related Cdc42 or RhoA binding or activation by their respective GEFs or with Rac1 interaction with BcrGAP or effector PAK1. In cells, it potently blocked serum or platelet-derived growth factor-induced Rac1 activation and lamellipodia formation without affecting the activity of endogenous Cdc42 or RhoA. Moreover, this compound reduced Trio or Tiam1 but not Vav, Lbc, Intersectin, or a constitutively active Rac1 mutant-stimulated cell growth and suppressed Trio, Tiam1, or Ras-induced cell transformation. When applied to human prostate cancer PC-3 cells, it was able to inhibit the proliferation, anchorage-independent growth and invasion phenotypes that require the endogenous Rac1 activity. Thus, NSC23766 constitutes a Rac-specific small-molecule inhibitor that could be useful to study the role of Rac in various cellular functions and to reverse tumor cell phenotypes associated with Rac deregulation.
Project description:DOCK (dedicator of cytokinesis) guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) activate the Rho-family GTPases Rac and Cdc42 to control cell migration, morphogenesis, and phagocytosis. The DOCK A and B subfamilies activate Rac, whereas the DOCK D subfamily activates Cdc42. Nucleotide exchange is catalyzed by a conserved DHR2 domain (DOCK(DHR2)). Although the molecular basis for DOCK(DHR2)-mediated GTPase activation has been elucidated through structures of a DOCK9(DHR2)-Cdc42 complex, the factors determining recognition of specific GTPases are unknown. To understand the molecular basis for DOCK-GTPase specificity, we have determined the crystal structure of DOCK2(DHR2) in complex with Rac1. DOCK2(DHR2) and DOCK9(DHR2) exhibit similar tertiary structures and homodimer interfaces and share a conserved GTPase-activating mechanism. Multiple structural differences between DOCK2(DHR2) and DOCK9(DHR2) account for their selectivity toward Rac1 and Cdc42. Key determinants of selectivity of Cdc42 and Rac for their cognate DOCK(DHR2) are a Phe or Trp residue within β3 (residue 56) and the ability of DOCK proteins to exploit differences in the GEF-induced conformational changes of switch 1 dependent on a divergent residue at position 27. DOCK proteins, therefore, differ from DH-PH GEFs that select their cognate GTPases through recognition of structural differences within the β2/β3 strands.
Project description:Dock10 is one of the three members of the Dock-D family of Dock proteins, a class of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rho GTPases. Its homologs Dock9 and Dock11 are Cdc42 GEFs. Dock10 is required for maintenance of rounded morphology and amoeboid-type movement. Full-length isoforms of Dock10 have been recently cloned. Here, we address GTPase specificity and GEF activity of Dock10. In order of decreasing intensity, Dock10 interacted with nucleotide-free Rac1, Cdc42, and Rac3, and more weakly with Rac2, RhoF, and RhoG. Inducible expression of Dock10 in HeLa epithelial cells promoted GEF activity on Cdc42 and Rac1, and a morphologic change in two-dimensional culture consisting in loss of cell elongation, increase of filopodia, and ruffles. Area in contact with the substrate of cells that spread with non-elongated morphology was larger in cells expressing Dock10. Inducible expression of constitutively active mutants of Cdc42 and Rac1 in HeLa cells also induced loss of elongation. However, Cdc42 induced filopodia and contraction, and Rac1 induced membrane ruffles and flattening. When co-expressed with Dock10, Cdc42 potentiated filopodia, and Rac1 potentiated ruffles. These results suggest that Dock10 functions as a dual GEF for Cdc42 and Rac1, affecting cell morphology, spreading and actin cytoskeleton protrusions of adherent HeLa cells.
Project description:The unconventional guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) family comprising 11 DOCK180 related proteins is classified into four subfamilies, A through D, based on their relative GEF activity toward the closely related Rac and Cdc42 GTPases. DOCK proteins participate in the remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton and are key regulators of cell motility, phagocytosis, and adhesion. Here we show that the guanine nucleotide exchange domain of DOCK7, DHR2 (for DOCK homology region 2), is a potent GEF for prenylated Cdc42 and Rac1 in a model liposome system, demonstrating that the prenylation and membrane localization of Cdc42 or Rac1 are necessary for their activation by DOCK7. Additionally, we identify DOCK7 residues that confer GTPase GEF specificity. Finally, using our liposome reconstitution assay, we show that a more narrowly defined GEF domain of DHR2 (designated DHR2s) harbors an N-terminal site distinct from the GEF active site that binds preferentially to the active, GTP-bound forms of Cdc42 and Rac1 and thereby recruits free DHR2s from solution to the membrane surface. This recruitment results in a progressive increase in the effective concentration of DHR2s at the membrane surface that in turn provides for an accelerated rate of guanine nucleotide exchange on Cdc42. The positive cooperativity observed in our reconstituted system suggests that the action of DOCK7 in vivo may involve the coordinated integration of Cdc42/Rac signaling in the context of the membrane recruitment of a DOCK7 GEF complex.
Project description:Here we generate fluorescence resonance energy transfer biosensors for guanine exchange factors (GEFs) by inserting a fluorescent protein pair in a structural 'hinge' common to many GEFs. Fluorescent biosensors can map the activation of signaling molecules in space and time, but it has not been possible to quantify how different activation events affect one another or contribute to a specific cell behavior. By imaging the GEF biosensors in the same cells as red-shifted biosensors of Rho GTPases, we can apply partial correlation analysis to parse out the extent to which each GEF contributes to the activation of a specific GTPase in regulating cell movement. Through analysis of spontaneous cell protrusion events, we identify when and where the GEF Asef regulates the GTPases Cdc42 and Rac1 to control cell edge dynamics. This approach exemplifies a powerful means to elucidate the real-time connectivity of signal transduction networks.
Project description:The Rho GTPase Rac regulates actin cytoskeleton reorganization to form cell surface extensions (lamellipodia) required for cell migration/invasion during cancer metastasis. Rac hyperactivation and overexpression are associated with aggressive cancers; thus, interference of the interaction of Rac with its direct upstream activators, guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), is a viable strategy for inhibiting Rac activity. We synthesized EHop-016, a novel inhibitor of Rac activity, based on the structure of the established Rac/Rac GEF inhibitor NSC23766. Herein, we demonstrate that EHop-016 inhibits Rac activity in the MDA-MB-435 metastatic cancer cells that overexpress Rac and exhibits high endogenous Rac activity. The IC(50) of 1.1 ?M for Rac inhibition by EHop-016 is ?100-fold lower than for NSC23766. EHop-016 is specific for Rac1 and Rac3 at concentrations of ?5 ?M. At higher concentrations, EHop-016 inhibits the close homolog Cdc42. In MDA-MB-435 cells that demonstrate high active levels of the Rac GEF Vav2, EHop-016 inhibits the association of Vav2 with a nucleotide-free Rac1(G15A), which has a high affinity for activated GEFs. EHop-016 also inhibits the Rac activity of MDA-MB-231 metastatic breast cancer cells and reduces Rac-directed lamellipodia formation in both cell lines. EHop-016 decreases Rac downstream effects of PAK1 (p21-activated kinase 1) activity and directed migration of metastatic cancer cells. Moreover, at effective concentrations (<5 ?M), EHop-016 does not affect the viability of transformed mammary epithelial cells (MCF-10A) and reduces viability of MDA-MB-435 cells by only 20%. Therefore, EHop-016 holds promise as a targeted therapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic cancers with high Rac activity.
Project description:The Escherichia coli type III effector Map belongs to a large family of bacterial virulence factors that activate host Rho GTPase signaling pathways through an unknown molecular mechanism. Here we report direct evidence that Map functions as a potent and selective guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Cdc42. The 2.3-A structure of the Map-Cdc42 complex revealed that Map mimics the GEF strategy of the mammalian Dbl family but has a three-dimensional architecture that is nearly identical to the bacterial GEF Salmonella spp. SopE. A comparative analysis between human and bacterial GEFs revealed a previously uncharacterized pairing mechanism between Map and the variable beta2-3 interswitch region of Cdc42. We propose a GTPase selection model that is experimentally validated by the preferential activation Rac1 and RhoA by the Shigella spp. effectors IpgB1 and IpgB2, respectively. These results significantly expand the repertoire of bacterial GEF mimics and unify a GEF selection mechanism for host GTPase substrates.
Project description:The Rho family GTPases Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 have emerged as key players in cancer metastasis, due to their essential roles in regulating cell division and actin cytoskeletal rearrangements; and thus, cell growth, migration/invasion, polarity, and adhesion. This review will focus on the close homologs Rac and Cdc42, which have been established as drivers of metastasis and therapy resistance in multiple cancer types. Rac and Cdc42 are often dysregulated in cancer due to hyperactivation by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), belonging to both the diffuse B-cell lymphoma (Dbl) and dedicator of cytokinesis (DOCK) families. Rac/Cdc42 GEFs are activated by a myriad of oncogenic cell surface receptors, such as growth factor receptors, G-protein coupled receptors, cytokine receptors, and integrins; consequently, a number of Rac/Cdc42 GEFs have been implicated in metastatic cancer. Hence, inhibiting GEF-mediated Rac/Cdc42 activation represents a promising strategy for targeted metastatic cancer therapy. Herein, we focus on the role of oncogenic Rac/Cdc42 GEFs and discuss the recent advancements in the development of Rac and Cdc42 GEF-interacting inhibitors as targeted therapy for metastatic cancer, as well as their potential for overcoming cancer therapy resistance.
Project description:The Rho family of GTPases plays an important role in coordinating dynamic changes in the cell migration machinery after integrin engagement with the extracellular matrix. Rho GTPases are activated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and negatively regulated by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). However, the mechanisms by which GEFs and GAPs are spatially and temporally regulated are poorly understood. Here the activity of the proto-oncogene Vav2, a GEF for Rac1, RhoA, and Cdc42, is shown to be regulated by a phosphorylation-dependent interaction with the ArfGAP PKL (GIT2). PKL is required for Vav2 activation downstream of integrin engagement and epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation. In turn, Vav2 regulates the subsequent redistribution of PKL and the Rac1 GEF ?-PIX to focal adhesions after EGF stimulation, suggesting a feedforward signaling loop that coordinates PKL-dependent Vav2 activation and PKL localization. Of interest, Vav2 is required for the efficient localization of PKL and ?-PIX to the leading edge of migrating cells, and knockdown of Vav2 results in a decrease in directional persistence and polarization in migrating cells, suggesting a coordination between PKL/Vav2 signaling and PKL/?-PIX signaling during cell migration.
Project description:Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) activate Rho GTPases by catalyzing the exchange of bound GDP for GTP, thereby resulting in downstream effector recognition. Two metazoan families of GEFs have been described: Dbl-GEF family members that share conserved Dbl homology (DH) and Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains and the more recently described Dock180 family members that share little sequence homology with the Dbl family and are characterized by conserved Dock homology regions 1 and 2 (DHR-1 and -2, respectively). While extensive characterization of the Dbl family has been performed, less is known about how Dock180 family members act as GEFs, with only a single X-ray structure having recently been reported for the Dock9-Cdc42 complex. To learn more about the mechanisms used by the founding member of the family, Dock180, to act as a Rac-specific GEF, we set out to identify and characterize its limit functional GEF domain. A C-terminal portion of the DHR-2 domain, composed of approximately 300 residues (designated as Dock180(DHR-2c)), is shown to be necessary and sufficient for robust Rac-specific GEF activity both in vitro and in vivo. We further show that Dock180(DHR-2c) binds to Rac in a manner distinct from that of Rac-GEFs of the Dbl family. Specifically, Ala(27) and Trp(56) of Rac appear to provide a bipartite binding site for the specific recognition of Dock180(DHR-2c), whereas for Dbl family Rac-GEFs, Trp(56) of Rac is the sole primary determinant of GEF specificity. On the basis of our findings, we are able to define the core of Dock180 responsible for its Rac-GEF activity as well as highlight key recognition sites that distinguish different Dock180 family members and determine their corresponding GTPase specificities.