The Arf family GTPase Arl4A complexes with ELMO proteins to promote actin cytoskeleton remodeling and reveals a versatile Ras-binding domain in the ELMO proteins family.
ABSTRACT: The prototypical DOCK protein, DOCK180, is an evolutionarily conserved Rac regulator and is indispensable during processes such as cell migration and myoblast fusion. The biological activity of DOCK180 is tightly linked to its binding partner ELMO. We previously reported that autoinhibited ELMO proteins regulate signaling from this pathway. One mechanism to activate the ELMO-DOCK180 complex appears to be the recruitment of this complex to the membrane via the Ras-binding domain (RBD) of ELMO. In the present study, we aimed to identify novel ELMO-interacting proteins to further define the molecular events capable of controlling ELMO recruitment to the membrane. To do so, we performed two independent interaction screens: one specifically interrogated an active GTPase library while the other probed a brain cDNA library. Both methods converged on Arl4A, an Arf-related GTPase, as a specific ELMO interactor. Biochemically, Arl4A is constitutively GTP-loaded, and our binding assays confirm that both wild-type and constitutively active forms of the GTPase associate with ELMO. Mechanistically, we report that Arl4A binds the ELMO RBD and acts as a membrane localization signal for ELMO. In addition, we report that membrane targeting of ELMO via Arl4A promotes cytoskeletal reorganization including membrane ruffling and stress fiber disassembly via an ELMO-DOCK1800-Rac signaling pathway. We conclude that ELMO is capable of interacting with GTPases from Rho and Arf families, leading to the conclusion that ELMO contains a versatile RBD. Furthermore, via binding of an Arf family GTPase, the ELMO-DOCK180 is uniquely positioned at the membrane to activate Rac signaling and remodel the actin cytoskeleton.
Project description:ELMO and DOCK180 proteins form an evolutionarily conserved module controlling Rac GTPase signaling during cell migration, phagocytosis, and myoblast fusion. Here, we identified the microtubule and actin-binding spectraplakin ACF7 as a novel ELMO-interacting partner. A C-terminal polyproline segment in ELMO and the last spectrin repeat of ACF7 mediate a direct interaction between these proteins. Co-expression of ELMO1 with ACF7 promoted the formation of long membrane protrusions during integrin-mediated cell spreading. Quantification of membrane dynamics established that coupling of ELMO and ACF7 increases the persistence of the protruding activity. Mechanistically, we uncovered a role for ELMO in the recruitment of ACF7 to the membrane to promote microtubule capture and stability. Functionally, these effects of ELMO and ACF7 on cytoskeletal dynamics required the Rac GEF DOCK180. In conclusion, our findings support a role for ELMO in protrusion stability by acting at the interface between the actin cytoskeleton and the microtubule network.
Project description:Dedicator of cytokinesis (DOCK) proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) controlling the activity of Rac1/Cdc42 during migration, phagocytosis, and myoblast fusion [1-4]. Engulfment and cell motility (ELMO) proteins bind a subset of DOCK members and are emerging as critical regulators of Rac signaling [5-10]. Although formation of a DOCK180/ELMO complex is not essential for Rac1 activation, ELMO mutants deficient in binding to DOCK180 are unable to promote cytoskeleton remodeling . How ELMO regulates signaling through DOCK GEFs is poorly understood. Here, we identify an autoinhibitory switch in ELMO presenting homology to a regulatory unit described for Dia formins. One part of the switch, composed of a Ras-binding domain (RBD) and Armadillo repeats, is positioned N-terminally while the other is housed in the C terminus. We demonstrate interaction between these fragments, suggesting autoinhibition of ELMO. Using a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer biosensor, we establish that ELMO undergoes conformational changes upon disruption of autoinhibition. We found that engagement of ELMO to RhoG, or with DOCK180, promotes the relief of autoinhibition in ELMO. Functionally, we found that ELMO mutants with impaired autoregulatory activity promote cell elongation. These results demonstrate an unsuspected level of regulation for Rac1 signaling via autoinhibition of ELMO.
Project description:Cell morphogenesis, which requires rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, is essential to coordinate the development of tissues such as the musculature and nervous system during normal embryonic development. One class of signaling proteins that regulate actin cytoskeletal rearrangement is the evolutionarily conserved CDM (C. elegansCed-5, human DOCK180, DrosophilaMyoblast city, or Mbc) family of proteins, which function as unconventional guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the small GTPase Rac. This CDM-Rac protein complex is sufficient for Rac activation, but is enhanced upon the association of CDM proteins with the ELMO/Ced-12 family of proteins. We identified and characterized the role of Drosophila Sponge (Spg), the vertebrate DOCK3/DOCK4 counterpart as an ELMO-interacting protein. Our analysis shows Spg mRNA and protein is expressed in the visceral musculature and developing nervous system, suggesting a role for Spg in later embryogenesis. As maternal null mutants of spg die early in development, we utilized genetic interaction analysis to uncover the role of Spg in central nervous system (CNS) development. Consistent with its role in ELMO-dependent pathways, we found genetic interactions with spg and elmo mutants exhibited aberrant axonal defects. In addition, our data suggests Ncad may be responsible for recruiting Spg to the membrane, possibly in CNS development. Our findings not only characterize the role of a new DOCK family member, but help to further understand the role of signaling downstream of N-cadherin in neuronal development.
Project description:The mammalian DOCK180 protein belongs to an evolutionarily conserved protein family, which together with ELMO proteins, is essential for activation of Rac GTPase-dependent biological processes. Here, we have analyzed the DOCK180-ELMO1 interaction, and map direct interaction interfaces to the N-terminal 200 amino acids of DOCK180, and to the C-terminal 200 amino acids of ELMO1, comprising the ELMO1 PH domain. Structural and biochemical analysis of this PH domain reveals that it is incapable of phospholipid binding, but instead structurally resembles FERM domains. Moreover, the structure revealed an N-terminal amphiphatic alpha-helix, and point mutants of invariant hydrophobic residues in this helix disrupt ELMO1-DOCK180 complex formation. A secondary interaction between ELMO1 and DOCK180 is conferred by the DOCK180 SH3 domain and proline-rich motifs at the ELMO1 C-terminus. Mutation of both DOCK180-interaction sites on ELMO1 is required to disrupt the DOCK180-ELMO1 complex. Significantly, although this does not affect DOCK180 GEF activity toward Rac in vivo, Rac signaling is impaired, implying additional roles for ELMO in mediating intracellular Rac signaling.
Project description:During embryogenesis, the CXC chemokine ligand (CXCL)12 acts on endothelial cells to control cardiac development and angiogenesis. Although biological functions of CXCL12 are exerted in part through activation of the small GTPase Rac, the pathway leading from its receptor CXC chemokine receptor (CXCR)4 to Rac activation remains to be determined.DOCK180 (dedicator of cytokinesis), an atypical Rac activator, has been implicated in various cellular functions. Here, we examined the role of DOCK180 in cardiovascular development.DOCK180 associates with ELMO (engulfment and cell motility) through the N-terminal region containing a Src homology 3 domain. We found that targeted deletion of the Src homology 3 domain of DOCK180 in mice leads to embryonic lethality with marked reduction of DOCK180 expression at the protein level. These mutant mice, as well as DOCK180-deficient mice, exhibited multiple cardiovascular abnormalities resembling those seen in CXCR4-deficient mice. In DOCK180 knocked down endothelial cells, CXCL12-induced Rac activation was impaired, resulting in a marked reduction of cell motility.These results suggest that DOCK180 links CXCR4 signaling to Rac activation to control endothelial cell migration during cardiovascular development.
Project description:Members of the CDM (CED-5, Dock180, Myoblast city) superfamily of guanine nucleotide exchange factors function in diverse processes that include cell migration and myoblast fusion. Previous studies have shown that the SH3, DHR1 and DHR2 domains of Myoblast city (MBC) are essential for it to direct myoblast fusion in the Drosophila embryo, while the conserved DCrk-binding proline rich region is expendable. Herein, we describe the isolation of Drosophila ELMO/CED-12, an approximately 82 kDa protein with a pleckstrin homology (PH) and proline-rich domain, by interaction with the MBC SH3 domain. Mass spectrometry confirms the presence of an MBC/ELMO complex within the embryonic musculature at the time of myoblast fusion and embryos maternally and/or zygotically mutant for elmo exhibit defects in myoblast fusion. Overexpression of MBC and ELMO in the embryonic mesoderm causes defects in myoblast fusion reminiscent of those seen with constitutively-activated Rac1, supporting the previous finding that both the absence of and an excess of Rac activity are deleterious to myoblast fusion. Overexpression of MBC and ELMO/CED-12 in the eye causes perturbations in ommatidial organization that are suppressed by mutations in Rac1 and Rac2, demonstrating genetically that MBC and ELMO/CED-12 cooperate to activate these small GTPases in Drosophila.
Project description:Cell migration is a highly regulated event that is initiated by cell membrane protrusion and actin reorganization. Robo1, a single-pass transmembrane receptor, is crucial for neuronal guidance and cell migration. ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf)-like 4A (Arl4A), an Arf small GTPase, functions in cell morphology, cell migration, and actin cytoskeleton remodeling; however, the molecular mechanisms of Arl4A in cell migration are unclear. Here, we report that the binding of Arl4A to Robo1 modulates cell migration by promoting Cdc42 activation. We found that Arl4A interacts with Robo1 in a GTP-dependent manner and that the Robo1 amino acid residues 1394-1398 are required for this interaction. The Arl4A-Robo1 interaction is essential for Arl4A-induced cell migration and Cdc42 activation but not for the plasma membrane localization of Robo1. In addition, we show that the binding of Arl4A to Robo1 decreases the association of Robo1 with the Cdc42 GTPase-activating protein srGAP1. Furthermore, Slit2/Robo1 binding down-regulates the Arl4A-Robo1 interaction in vivo, thus attenuating Cdc42-mediated cell migration. Therefore, our study reveals a novel mechanism by which Arl4A participates in Slit2/Robo1 signaling to modulate cell motility by regulating Cdc42 activity.
Project description:The brain-specific angiogenesis inhibitor (BAI) subfamily of adhesion G protein-coupled receptors (aGPCRs) plays crucial roles in diverse cellular processes including phagocytosis, myoblast fusion, and synaptic development through the ELMO/DOCK/Rac signaling pathway, although the underlying molecular mechanism is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that an evolutionarily conserved fragment located in the C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of BAI-aGPCRs is specifically recognized by the RBD-ARR-ELMO (RAE) supramodule of the ELMO family scaffolds. The crystal structures of ELMO2-RAE and its complex with BAI1 uncover the molecular basis of BAI/ELMO interactions. Based on the complex structure we identify aGPCR-GPR128 as another upstream receptor for the ELMO family scaffolds, most likely with a recognition mode similar to that of BAI/ELMO interactions. Finally, we map disease-causing mutations of BAI and ELMO and analyze their effects on complex formation.
Project description:The small GTPase RhoG plays a central role in actin remodelling during diverse biological processes such as neurite outgrowth, cell migration, phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, and the invasion of pathogenic bacteria. Although it is known that RhoG stimulates neurite outgrowth in the rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cell line, neither the physiological function nor the regulation of this GTPase in neuronal differentiation is clear. Here, we identify RhoG as an inhibitor of neuronal process complexity, which is regulated by the microRNA miR-124. We find that RhoG inhibits dendritic branching in hippocampal neurons in vitro and in vivo. RhoG also inhibits axonal branching, acting via an ELMO/Dock180/Rac1 signalling pathway. However, RhoG inhibits dendritic branching dependent on the small GTPase Cdc42. Finally, we show that the expression of RhoG in neurons is suppressed by the CNS-specific microRNA miR-124 and connect the regulation of RhoG expression by miR-124 to the stimulation of neuronal process complexity. Thus, RhoG emerges as a cellular conductor of Rac1 and Cdc42 activity, in turn regulated by miR-124 to control axonal and dendritic branching.
Project description:Cell-cell contact formation is a dynamic process requiring the coordination of cadherin-based cell-cell adhesion and integrin-based cell migration. A genome-wide RNA interference screen for proteins required specifically for cadherin-dependent cell-cell adhesion identified an Elmo-Dock complex. This was unexpected as Elmo-Dock complexes act downstream of integrin signaling as Rac guanine-nucleotide exchange factors. In this paper, we show that Elmo2 recruits Dock1 to initial cell-cell contacts in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. At cell-cell contacts, both Elmo2 and Dock1 are essential for the rapid recruitment and spreading of E-cadherin, actin reorganization, localized Rac and Rho GTPase activities, and the development of strong cell-cell adhesion. Upon completion of cell-cell adhesion, Elmo2 and Dock1 no longer localize to cell-cell contacts and are not required subsequently for the maintenance of cell-cell adhesion. These studies show that Elmo-Dock complexes are involved in both integrin- and cadherin-based adhesions, which may help to coordinate the transition of cells from migration to strong cell-cell adhesion.