Entamoeba histolytica Rho1 regulates actin polymerization through a divergent, diaphanous-related formin.
ABSTRACT: Entamoeba histolytica requires a dynamic actin cytoskeleton for intestinal and systemic pathogenicity. Diaphanous-related formins represent an important family of actin regulators that are activated by Rho GTPases. The E. histolytica genome encodes a large family of Rho GTPases and three diaphanous-related formins, of which EhFormin1 is known to regulate mitosis and cytokinesis in trophozoites. We demonstrate that EhFormin1 modulates actin polymerization through its formin homology 2 domain. Despite a highly divergent diaphanous autoinhibitory domain, EhFormin1 is autoinhibited by an N- and C-terminal intramolecular interaction but activated upon binding of EhRho1 to the N-terminal domain tandem. A crystal structure of the EhRho1·GTP?S-EhFormin1 complex illustrates an EhFormin1 conformation that diverges from mammalian mDia1 and lacks a secondary interaction with a Rho insert helix. The structural model also highlights residues required for specific recognition of the EhRho1 GTPase and suggests that the molecular mechanisms of EhFormin1 autoinhibition and activation differ from those of mammalian homologues.
Project description:The single-celled human parasite Entamoeba histolytica possesses a dynamic actin cytoskeleton vital for its intestinal and systemic pathogenicity. The E. histolytica genome encodes several Rho family GTPases known to regulate cytoskeletal dynamics. EhRho1, the first family member identified, was reported to be insensitive to the Rho GTPase-specific Clostridium botulinum C3 exoenzyme, raising the possibility that it may be a misclassified Ras family member. Here, we report the crystal structures of EhRho1 in both active and inactive states. EhRho1 is activated by a conserved switch mechanism, but diverges from mammalian Rho GTPases in lacking a signature Rho insert helix. EhRho1 engages a homolog of mDia, EhFormin1, suggesting a role in mediating serum-stimulated actin reorganization and microtubule formation during mitosis. EhRho1, but not a constitutively active mutant, interacts with a newly identified EhRhoGDI in a prenylation-dependent manner. Furthermore, constitutively active EhRho1 induces actin stress fiber formation in mammalian fibroblasts, thereby identifying it as a functional Rho family GTPase. EhRho1 exhibits a fast rate of nucleotide exchange relative to mammalian Rho GTPases due to a distinctive switch one isoleucine residue reminiscent of the constitutively active F28L mutation in human Cdc42, which for the latter protein, is sufficient for cellular transformation. Nonconserved, nucleotide-interacting residues within EhRho1, revealed by the crystal structure models, were observed to contribute a moderating influence on fast spontaneous nucleotide exchange. Collectively, these observations indicate that EhRho1 is a bona fide member of the Rho GTPase family, albeit with unique structural and functional aspects compared with mammalian Rho GTPases.
Project description:The Gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen whose virulence depends on its ability to spread from cell to cell within an infected host. Although the actin-related protein 2/3 (Arp2/3) complex is necessary and sufficient for Listeria actin tail assembly, previous studies suggest that other actin polymerization factors, such as formins, may participate in protrusion formation. Here, we show that Arp2/3 localized to only a minor portion of the protrusion. Moreover, treatment of L. monocytogenes-infected HeLa cells with a formin FH2-domain inhibitor significantly reduced protrusion length. In addition, the Diaphanous-related formins 1-3 (mDia1-3) localized to protrusions, and knockdown of mDia1, mDia2, and mDia3 substantially decreased cell-to-cell spread of L. monocytogenes. Rho GTPases are known to be involved in formin activation. Our studies also show that knockdown of several Rho family members significantly influenced bacterial cell-to-cell spread. Collectively, these findings identify a Rho GTPase-formin network that is critically involved in the cell-to-cell spread of L. monocytogenes.
Project description:Formin proteins were recognized as effectors of Rho GTPases some 15 years ago. They contribute to different cellular actin cytoskeleton structures by their ability to polymerize straight actin filaments at the barbed end. While not all formins necessarily interact with Rho GTPases, a subgroup of mammalian formins, termed Diaphanous-related formins or DRFs, were shown to be activated by small GTPases of the Rho superfamily. DRFs are autoinhibited in the resting state by an N- to C-terminal interaction that renders the central actin polymerization domain inactive. Upon the interaction with a GTP-bound Rho, Rac, or Cdc42 GTPase, the C-terminal autoregulation domain is displaced from its N-terminal recognition site and the formin becomes active to polymerize actin filaments. In this review we discuss the current knowledge on the structure, activation, and function of formin-GTPase interactions for the mammalian formin families Dia, Daam, FMNL, and FHOD. We describe both direct and indirect interactions of formins with GTPases, which lead to formin activation and cytoskeletal rearrangements. The multifaceted function of formins as effector proteins of Rho GTPases thus reflects the diversity of the actin cytoskeleton in cells.
Project description:Rho family GTPases modulate actin cytoskeleton dynamics by signaling through multiple effectors, including the p21-activated kinases (PAKs). The intestinal parasite Entamoeba histolytica expresses ?20 Rho family GTPases and seven isoforms of PAK, two of which have been implicated in pathogenesis-related processes such as amoebic motility and invasion and host cell phagocytosis. Here, we describe two previously unstudied PAK isoforms, EhPAK4 and EhPAK5, as highly specific effectors of EhRacC. A structural model based on 2.35 Å X-ray crystallographic data of a complex between EhRacC(Q65L)·GTP and the EhPAK4 p21 binding domain (PBD) reveals a fairly well-conserved Rho/effector interface despite deviation of the PBD ?-helix. A structural comparison with EhRho1 in complex with EhFormin1 suggests likely determinants of Rho family GTPase signaling specificity in E. histolytica. These findings suggest a high degree of Rho family GTPase diversity and specificity in the single-cell parasite E. histolytica. Because PAKs regulate pathogenesis-related processes in E. histolytica, they may be valid pharmacologic targets for anti-amoebiasis drugs.
Project description:Formin proteins direct the nucleation and assembly of linear actin filaments in a variety of cellular processes using their conserved formin homology 2 (FH2) domain. Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) are effectors of Rho-family GTPases, and in the absence of Rho activation they are maintained in an inactive state by intramolecular interactions between their regulatory N-terminal region and a C-terminal segment referred to as the DAD domain. Although structures are available for the isolated DAD segment in complex with the interacting region in the N-terminus, it remains unclear how this leads to inhibition of actin assembly by the FH2 domain. Here we describe the crystal structure of the N-terminal regulatory region of formin mDia1 in complex with a C-terminal fragment containing both the FH2 and DAD domains. In the crystal structure and in solution, these fragments form a tetrameric complex composed of two interlocking N+C dimers. Formation of the tetramer is likely a consequence of the particular N-terminal construct employed, as we show that a nearly full-length mDia1 protein is dimeric, as are other autoinhibited N+C complexes containing longer N-terminal fragments. The structure provides the first view of the intact C-terminus of a DRF, revealing the relationship of the DAD to the FH2 domain. Delineation of alternative dimeric N+C interactions within the tetramer provides two general models for autoinhibition in intact formins. In both models, engagement of the DAD by the N-terminus is incompatible with actin filament formation on the FH2, and in one model the actin binding surfaces of the FH2 domain are directly blocked by the N-terminus.
Project description:Clostridial glucosylating cytotoxins inactivate mammalian Rho GTPases by mono-O glucosylation of a conserved threonine residue located in the switch 1 region of the target protein. Here we report that EhRho1, a RhoA-like GTPase from the protozoan parasite Entamoeba histolytica, is glucosylated by clostridial cytotoxins. Recombinant glutathione S-transferase-EhRho1 and EhRho1 from cell lysate of Entamoeba histolytica were glucosylated by Clostridium difficile toxin B and Clostridium novyi alpha-toxin. In contrast, Clostridium difficile toxin A, which shares the same mammalian protein substrates with toxin B, did not modify EhRho1. Change of threonine 52 of EhRho1 to alanine prevented glucosylation by toxin B from Clostridium difficile and by alpha-toxin from Clostridium novyi, which suggests that the equivalent threonine residues are glucosylated in mammalian and Entamoeba Rho GTPases. Lethal toxin from Clostridium sordellii did not glucosylate EhRho1 but labeled several other substrate proteins in lysates from Entamoeba histolytica in the presence of UDP-[14C]glucose.
Project description:Diaphanous-related formins are eukaryotic actin nucleation factors regulated by an autoinhibitory interaction between the N-terminal RhoGTPase-binding domain (mDiaN) and the C-terminal Diaphanous-autoregulatory domain (DAD). Although the activation of formins by Rho proteins is well characterized, its inactivation is only marginally understood. Recently, liprin-?3 was shown to interact with mDia1. Overexpression of liprin-?3 resulted in a reduction of the cellular actin filament content. The molecular mechanisms of how liprin-?3 exerts this effect and counteracts mDia1 activation by RhoA are unknown. Here, we functionally and structurally define a minimal liprin-?3 core region, sufficient to recapitulate the liprin-?3 determined mDia1-respective cellular functions. We show that liprin-?3 alters the interaction kinetics and thermodynamics of mDiaN with RhoA·GTP and DAD. RhoA displaces liprin-?3 allosterically, whereas DAD competes with liprin-?3 for a highly overlapping binding site on mDiaN. Liprin-?3 regulates actin polymerization by lowering the regulatory potency of RhoA and DAD on mDiaN. We present a model of a mechanistically unexplored and new aspect of mDiaN regulation by liprin-?3.
Project description:We have developed an optogenetic technique for the activation of diaphanous-related formins. Our approach is based on fusion of the light-oxygen-voltage 2 domain of Avena sativa Phototrophin1 to an isolated Diaphanous Autoregulatory Domain from mDia1. This "caged" diaphanous auto-regulatory domain was inactive in the dark but in the presence of blue light rapidly activated endogenous diaphanous-related formins. Using an F-actin reporter, we observed filopodia and lamellipodia formation as well as a steady increase in F-actin along existing stress fibers, starting within minutes of photo-activation. Interestingly, we did not observe the formation of new stress fibers. Remarkably, a 1.9-fold increase in F-actin was not paralleled by an increase in myosin II along stress fibers and the amount of tension generated by the fibers, as judged by focal adhesion size, appeared unchanged. Our results suggest a decoupling between F-actin accumulation and contractility in stress fibers and demonstrate the utility of photoactivatable diaphanous autoregulatory domain for the study of diaphanous-related formin function in cells.
Project description:The rearrangement of cytoskeletal elements is essential for many cellular processes. The tumor suppressor Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) affects the function of microtubules and actin, but the mechanisms by which it does so are not well understood. Here we report that Drosophila syncytial embryos null for Apc2 display defects in the formation and extension of pseudocleavage furrows, which are cortical actin structures important for mitotic fidelity in early embryos. Furthermore, we show that the formin Diaphanous (DIA) functions with APC2 in this process. Colocalization of APC2 and DIA peaks during furrow extension, and localization of APC2 to furrows is DIA-dependent. Furthermore, APC2 binds DIA directly through a region of APC2 not previously shown to interact with DIA-related formins. Consistent with these results, reduction of dia enhances actin defects in Apc2 mutant embryos. Thus, an APC2-DIA complex appears crucial for actin furrow extension in the syncytial embryo. Interestingly, EB1, a microtubule +TIP and reported partner of vertebrate APC and DIA1, may not function with APC2 and DIA in furrow extension. Finally, whereas DIA-related formins are activated by Rho family GTPases, our data suggest that the APC2-DIA complex might be independent of RHOGEF2 and RHO1. Furthermore, although microtubules play a role in furrow extension, our analysis suggests that APC2 and DIA function in a novel complex that affects actin directly, rather than through an effect on microtubules.
Project description:Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) are key regulators of actin cytoskeletal dynamics whose in vitro actin assembly activities are thought to be regulated by autoinhibition. However, the in vivo consequences of autoinhibition and the involvement of DRFs in specific biological processes are not well understood. In this study, we show that in the DRFs FRLalpha (formin-related gene in leukocytes alpha) and mouse diaphanous 1, autoinhibition regulates a novel membrane localization activity in vivo as well as actin assembly activity in vitro. In FRLalpha, the Rho family guanosine triphosphatase Cdc42 relieves the autoinhibition of both membrane localization and biochemical actin assembly activities. FRLalpha is required for efficient Fc-gamma receptor-mediated phagocytosis and is recruited to the phagocytic cup by Cdc42. These results suggest that mutual autoinhibition of biochemical activity and cellular localization may be a general regulatory principle for DRFs and demonstrate a novel role for formins in immune function.