Abr and Bcr, two homologous Rac GTPase-activating proteins, control multiple cellular functions of murine macrophages.
ABSTRACT: Small GTPases of the Rho family are key regulators of phagocytic leukocyte function. Abr and Bcr are homologous, multidomain proteins. Their C-terminal domain has GTPase-activating protein (GAP) activity that, in vitro, is specific for Rac and Cdc42. To address the in vivo relevance of these entire proteins, of which little is known, the current study examined the effect of the genetic ablation of Abr and Bcr in murine macrophages. The concomitant loss of Abr and Bcr induced multiple alterations of macrophage cellular behavior known to be under the control of Rac. Macrophages lacking both Abr and Bcr exhibited an atypical, elongated morphology that was reproduced by the ectopic expression of GAP domain mutant Abr and Bcr in a macrophage cell line and of constitutively active Rac in primary macrophages. A robust increase in colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1)-directed motility was observed in macrophages deficient for both proteins and, in response to CSF-1 stimulation, Abr and Bcr transiently translocated to the plasma membrane. Phagocytosis of opsonized particles was also increased in macrophages lacking both proteins and correlated with sustained Rac activation. Bcr and Abr GAP mutant proteins localized around phagosomes and induced distinct phagocytic cup formation. These results identify Abr and Bcr as the only GAPs to date that specifically negatively regulate Rac function in vivo in primary macrophages.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Bcr and Abr are GTPase activating proteins that specifically downregulate activity of the small GTPase Rac in restricted cell types in vivo. Rac1 is expressed in smooth muscle cells, a critical cell type involved in the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension. The molecular mechanisms that underlie hypoxia-associated pulmonary hypertension are not well-defined.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>Bcr and abr null mutant mice were compared to wild type controls for the development of pulmonary hypertension after exposure to hypoxia. Also, pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells from those mice were cultured in hypoxia and examined for proliferation, p38 activation and IL-6 production. Mice lacking Bcr or Abr exposed to hypoxia developed increased right ventricular pressure, hypertrophy and pulmonary vascular remodeling. Perivascular leukocyte infiltration in the lungs was increased, and under hypoxia bcr-/- and abr-/- macrophages generated more reactive oxygen species. Consistent with a contribution of inflammation and oxidative stress in pulmonary hypertension-associated vascular damage, Bcr and Abr-deficient animals showed elevated endothelial leakage after hypoxia exposure. Hypoxia-treated pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells from Bcr- or Abr-deficient mice also proliferated faster than those of wild type mice. Moreover, activated Rac1, phosphorylated p38 and interleukin 6 were increased in these cells in the absence of Bcr or Abr. Inhibition of Rac1 activation with Z62954982, a novel Rac inhibitor, decreased proliferation, p38 phosphorylation and IL-6 levels in pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells exposed to hypoxia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Bcr and Abr play a critical role in down-regulating hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension by deactivating Rac1 and, through this, reducing both oxidative stress generated by leukocytes as well as p38 phosphorylation, IL-6 production and proliferation of pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells.
Project description:The Rho GTPases-Rho, Rac, and Cdc42-regulate the dynamics of F-actin (filamentous actin) and myosin-2 with considerable subcellular precision. Consistent with this ability, active Rho and Cdc42 occupy mutually exclusive zones during single-cell wound repair and asymmetric cytokinesis, suggesting the existence of mechanisms for local crosstalk, but how local Rho GTPase crosstalk is controlled is unknown.Using a candidate screen approach for Rho GTPase activators (guanine nucleotide exchange factors; GEFs) and Rho GTPase inactivators (GTPase-activating proteins; GAPs), we find that Abr, a protein with both GEF and GAP activity, regulates Rho and Cdc42 during single-cell wound repair. Abr is targeted to the Rho activity zone via active Rho. Within the Rho zone, Abr promotes local Rho activation via its GEF domain and controls local crosstalk via its GAP domain, which limits Cdc42 activity within the Rho zone. Depletion of Abr attenuates Rho activity and wound repair.Abr is the first identified Rho GTPase regulator of single-cell wound healing. Its novel mode of targeting by interaction with active Rho allows Abr to rapidly amplify local increases in Rho activity using its GEF domain while its ability to inactivate Cdc42 using its GAP domain results in sharp segregation of the Rho and Cdc42 zones. Similar mechanisms of local Rho GTPase activation and segregation enforcement may be employed in other processes that exhibit local Rho GTPase crosstalk.
Project description:Rho family small GTPases are important regulators of neuronal development. Defective Rho regulation causes nervous system dysfunctions including mental retardation and Alzheimer's disease. Rac1, a member of the Rho family, regulates dendritic spines and excitatory synapses, but relatively little is known about how synaptic Rac1 is negatively regulated. Breakpoint cluster region (BCR) is a Rac GTPase-activating protein known to form a fusion protein with the c-Abl tyrosine kinase in Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myelogenous leukemia. Despite the fact that BCR mRNAs are abundantly expressed in the brain, the neural functions of BCR protein have remained obscure. We report here that BCR and its close relative active BCR-related (ABR) localize at excitatory synapses and directly interact with PSD-95, an abundant postsynaptic scaffolding protein. Mice deficient for BCR or ABR show enhanced basal Rac1 activity but only a small increase in spine density. Importantly, mice lacking BCR or ABR exhibit a marked decrease in the maintenance, but not induction, of long-term potentiation, and show impaired spatial and object recognition memory. These results suggest that BCR and ABR have novel roles in the regulation of synaptic Rac1 signaling, synaptic plasticity, and learning and memory, and that excessive Rac1 activity negatively affects synaptic and cognitive functions.
Project description:Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) regulates macrophage morphology and motility, as well as mononuclear phagocytic cell proliferation and differentiation. The CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) transduces these pleiotropic signals through autophosphorylation of eight intracellular tyrosine residues. We have used a novel bone-marrow-derived macrophage cell line system to examine specific signaling pathways activated by tyrosine-phosphorylated CSF-1R in macrophages. Screening of macrophages expressing a single species of CSF-1R with individual tyrosine-to-phenylalanine residue mutations revealed striking morphological alterations upon mutation of Y721. M?/?.Y721F cells were apolar and ruffled poorly in response to CSF-1. Y721-P-mediated CSF-1R signaling regulated adhesion and actin polymerization to control macrophage spreading and motility. Moreover, the reduced motility of M?/?.Y721F macrophages was associated with their reduced capacity to enhance carcinoma cell invasion. Y721 phosphorylation mediated the direct association of the p85 subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) with the CSF-1R, but not that of phospholipase C (PLC) ?2, and induced polarized PtdIns(3,4,5)P? production at the putative leading edge, implicating PI3K as a major regulator of CSF-1-induced macrophage motility. The Y721-P-motif-based motility signaling was at least partially independent of both Akt and increased Rac and Cdc42 activation but mediated the rapid and transient association of an unidentified ~170 kDa phosphorylated protein with either Rac-GTP or Cdc42-GTP. These studies identify CSF-1R-Y721-P-PI3K signaling as a major pathway in CSF-1-regulated macrophage motility and provide a starting point for the discovery of the immediate downstream signaling events.
Project description:Cell polarization is essential for many biological processes, including directed cell migration, and loss of polarity contributes to pathological conditions such as cancer. The Par complex (Par3, Par6, and PKC?) controls cell polarity in part by recruiting the Rac-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor T-lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1 (Tiam1) to specialized cellular sites, where Tiam1 promotes local Rac1 activation and cytoskeletal remodeling. However, the mechanisms that restrict Par-Tiam1 complex activity to the leading edge to maintain cell polarity during migration remain unclear. We identify the Rac-specific GTPase-activating protein (GAP) breakpoint cluster region protein (Bcr) as a novel regulator of the Par-Tiam1 complex. We show that Bcr interacts with members of the Par complex and inhibits both Rac1 and PKC? signaling. Loss of Bcr results in faster, more random migration and striking polarity defects in astrocytes. These polarity defects are rescued by reducing PKC? activity or by expressing full-length Bcr, but not an N-terminal deletion mutant or the homologous Rac-GAP, Abr, both of which fail to associate with the Par complex. These results demonstrate that Bcr is an integral member of the Par-Tiam1 complex that controls polarized cell migration by locally restricting both Rac1 and PKC? function.
Project description:Abr deactivates Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate (Rac), a master molecular switch that positively regulates many immune cell functions, by converting it to its GDP-bound conformation. In this article, we report that, in the absence of Abr function, cockroach allergen (CRA)-immunized mice experienced a fatal asthma attack when challenged with CRA. The asthma in abr(-/-) mice was characterized by increased pulmonary mucus production, elevated serum IgE, and leukocyte airway infiltration. Decreased pulmonary compliance was further documented by increased airway resistance upon methacholine challenge. Peribronchial and bronchoalveolar lavage eosinophils, key cells associated with allergic asthma, were increased in abr(-/-) mice, but adoptive transfer of this cell type from immunized mice to naive controls, followed by CRA challenge, showed that eosinophils are not primarily responsible for differences in airway resistance between controls and abr-null mutants. CD4(+) T cell numbers in the airways of CRA-challenged abr(-/-) mice also were significantly increased compared with controls, as were the Th2 T cell-secreted cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 in total lung. Interestingly, when control and abr(-/-) CD4(+) T cells from CRA-immunized mice were transferred to wild-type animals, airway resistance upon challenge with CRA was significantly higher in mice transplanted with T cells lacking Abr function. CD4(+) T cells from CRA-immunized and challenged abr(-/-) mice contained elevated levels of activated GTP-bound Rac compared with wild-type controls. Functionally, abr(-/-) CD4(+) T cells from CRA-exposed mice showed significantly enhanced chemotaxis toward CCL21. These results identify Abr-regulated CD4(+) T cell migration as an important component of severe CRA-evoked allergic asthma in mice.
Project description:Dictyostelium discoideum DdRacGap1 (DRG) contains both Rho-GEF and Rho-GAP domains, a feature it shares with mammalian Bcr and Abr. To elucidate the physiological role of this multifunctional protein, we characterized the enzymatic activity of recombinant DRG fragments in vitro, created DRG-null cells, and studied the function of the protein in vivo by analysing the phenotypic changes displayed by DRG-depleted cells and DRG-null cells complemented with DRG or DRG fragments. Our results show that DRG-GEF modulates F-actin dynamics and cAMP-induced F-actin formation via Rac1-dependent signalling pathways. DRG's RacE-GAP activity is required for proper cytokinesis to occur. Additionally, we provide evidence that the specificity of DRG is not limited to members of the Rho family of small GTPases. A recombinant DRG-GAP accelerates the GTP hydrolysis of RabD 30-fold in vitro and our complementation studies show that DRG-GAP activity is required for the RabD-dependent regulation of the contractile vacuole system in Dictyostelium.
Project description:Active BCR related (ABR) gene deactivates ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (RAC1), which plays an essential role in regulating normal hematopoiesis and in leukemia. BCR gene, closely related to ABR, acts as a tumor suppressor in chronic myeloid leukemia and has overlapping functions with ABR. Evidence for a putative tumor suppressor role of ABR has been shown in several solid tumors, in which deletion of ABR is present. Our results show downregulation of ABR in AML. A block of ABR prevents myeloid differentiation and leads to repression of the myeloid transcription factor C/EBP?, a major regulator of myeloid differentiation and functionally impaired in leukemia. Conversely, stable overexpression of ABR enhances myeloid differentiation. Inactivation of the known ABR target RAC1 by treatment with the RAC1 inhibitor NSC23766 resulted in an increased expression of C/EBP? in primary AML samples and in AML cell lines U937 and MV4;11. Finally, AML patients with high ABR expression at diagnosis showed a significant longer overall survival and patients who respond to azacitidine therapy showed a significant higher ABR expression. This is the first report showing that ABR expression plays a critical role in both myelopoiesis and AML. Our data indicate the tumor suppressor potential of ABR and underline its potential role in leukemia therapeutic strategies.
Project description:Macrophages have a defensive function against bacteria through phagocytosis and the secretion of cytokines. Histone modifications play an essential role in macrophage functions. Here, we report that Cxxc finger protein 1 (CFP1), a key component of the SETD1 histone methyltransferase complex, promoted the phagocytic and bactericidal activity of GM-CSF-derived macrophages. CFP1-deficient mice were more susceptible to bacterial infection due to the decreased expression of Csf2r?, a subunit of the GM-CSF receptor essential for inflammation and alveolar macrophage development, through the loss of H3K4 modifications in the promoter of the Csf2r? gene. In addition, the lung tissues of CFP1-deficient mice exhibited spontaneous inflammatory symptoms, including both the infiltration of inflammatory cells and the accumulation of surfactant phospholipids and proteins. Furthermore, we showed that Csf2r? and PU.1 can partially rescue the defects in phagocytosis and in the intracellular killing of bacteria. Collectively, our data highlight the importance of CFP1 in the phagocytic and bactericidal activity of macrophages.
Project description:Purpose:The purpose of this study is to examine the expression profile of genes related to integrin-mediated phagocytosis that are altered by dexamethasone (DEX) and/or ?v?3 integrin signaling to gain a better understanding of the molecular basis of phagocytosis and the pathophysiology of glucocorticoid-induced ocular hypertension. Methods:RNA and cell lysates were obtained from human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells incubated with and without DEX for 4-5 d. The relative level of gene expression was evaluated using the Affymetrix Gene Chip® human gene microarray and quantitative PCR (qPCR). Changes in protein expression were validated using western blots or FACS analyses. The involvement of proteins in phagocytosis was determined using siRNA to knock down the expression of these proteins in an immortalized TM-1 cell line. Changes in the phagocytic activity were measured using pHrodo™-labeled S. aureus bioparticles followed by immunofluorescence microscopy. The effect of ?v?3 integrin expression and activity on GULP1 mRNA levels was measured using qPCR in TM-1 cells overexpressing wild type or constitutively active ?v?3 integrin. Results:Gene microarrays revealed statistically significant differences (>2 fold) in the expression of seven genes known to be involved in phagocytosis. Three genes (CD36, ABR, and GULP1) were downregulated, while four genes (ITGB3, CHN1, PIK3R1, and MFGE8) were upregulated. The genes were either associated with modulating RAC1 activity (ABR and CHN1) or integrin signaling (CD36, GULP1, ITGB3, PIK3R1, and MFGE8). Another gene, SIRPA, was also downregulated (1.6 fold) but only in one cell strain. qPCR and western blot analyses verified that DEX caused a decrease in SIRPA and GULP1 mRNA and their protein levels, while levels of CHN1 mRNA and its protein were upregulated by DEX. qPCR showed that although ABR mRNA was downregulated compared to non-treated controls after 5 d of treatment with DEX, no change at the protein level was detected. qPCR analysis also revealed that DEX caused an increase in MFGE8 mRNA levels. The levels of CD36 mRNA and protein varied between cell strains treated with DEX and were not statistically different compared to controls. The knockdown of GULP1 and ABR using siRNAs decreased phagocytosis by 40%. Interestingly, GULP1 mRNA levels were also decreased by 60% when ?v?3 integrin was overexpressed in TM-1 cells. Conclusion:The DEX-induced inhibition of phagocytosis may be caused by the downregulation of ABR and GULP1 disrupting the ?v?5 integrin/RAC1-mediated engulfment pathway. The downregulation of GULP1 by ?v?3 integrin further suggests that this integrin may be a negative regulator of phagocytosis by transcriptionally downregulating proteins needed for phagocytosis. In summary, these results represent new insights into the effects of glucocorticoids and integrin signaling on the phagocytic process in the TM.