Delineating the core regulatory elements crucial for directed cell migration by examining folic-acid-mediated responses.
ABSTRACT: Dictyostelium discoideum shows chemotaxis towards folic acid (FA) throughout vegetative growth, and towards cAMP during development. We determined the spatiotemporal localization of cytoskeletal and signaling molecules and investigated the FA-mediated responses in a number of signaling mutants to further our understanding of the core regulatory elements that are crucial for cell migration. Proteins enriched in the pseudopods during chemotaxis also relocalize transiently to the plasma membrane during uniform FA stimulation. In contrast, proteins that are absent from the pseudopods during migration redistribute transiently from the PM to the cytosol when cells are globally stimulated with FA. These chemotactic responses to FA were also examined in cells lacking the GTPases Ras C and G. Although Ras and phosphoinositide 3-kinase activity were significantly decreased in Ras G and Ras C/G nulls, these mutants still migrated towards FA, indicating that other pathways must support FA-mediated chemotaxis. We also examined the spatial movements of PTEN in response to uniform FA and cAMP stimulation in phospholipase C (PLC) null cells. The lack of PLC strongly influences the localization of PTEN in response to FA, but not cAMP. In addition, we compared the gradient-sensing behavior of polarized cells migrating towards cAMP to that of unpolarized cells migrating towards FA. The majority of polarized cells make U-turns when the cAMP gradient is switched from the front of the cell to the rear. Conversely, unpolarized cells immediately extend pseudopods towards the new FA source. We also observed that plasma membrane phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P3] levels oscillate in unpolarized cells treated with Latrunculin-A, whereas polarized cells had stable plasma membrane PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 responses toward the chemoattractant gradient source. Results were similar for cells that were starved for 4 hours, with a mixture of polarized and unpolarized cells responding to cAMP. Taken together, these findings suggest that similar components control gradient sensing during FA- and cAMP-mediated motility, but the response of polarized cells is more stable, which ultimately helps maintain their directionality.
Project description:In neutrophils and Dictyostelium, chemoattractant gradients generate directed cell migration by eliciting signaling events that bias intrinsic motility and favor the production and retention of upgradient pseudopods. Phosphoinositides are actively regulated during chemotaxis in these cells, most iconically in the production of PI(3,4,5)P3 gradients within the plasma membrane. Although it is now known that PI(3,4,5)P3 signaling is nonessential for gradient sensing, the role of the related phosphoinositide PI(4,5)P2 is little understood, despite its clear importance in many cell biological processes. We describe here a PIP5 kinase, PikI, which produces PI(4,5)P2 and is essential for efficient chemotaxis of Dictyostelium cells. Without PikI, PI(4,5)P2 levels are reduced by 90%, and while pikI(-) cells move at normal speeds, they are highly disorientated in cAMP gradients. Following chemotactic stimulation, Ras is efficiently activated in pikI(-) cells, yet Ras-dependent responses (including activation of PKB) are severely impaired. PikI is phosphorylated by PKB, and in vitro studies of a phosphomimic mutant suggest that this phosphorylation increases PikI activity. We propose that adequate PI(4,5)P2 levels are required to couple activated Ras to its downstream effectors and that these levels are regulated by PikI, making it a crucial player in gradient sensing.
Project description:The movement of neutrophils between blood and tissues appears to be regulated by chemoattractants and chemorepellents. Compared with neutrophil chemoattractants, relatively little is known about neutrophil chemorepellents. Slit proteins are endogenously cleaved into a variety of N- and C-terminal fragments, and these fragments are neuronal chemorepellents and inhibit chemoattraction of many cell types, including neutrophils. In this report, we show that the ?140-kDa N-terminal Slit2 fragment (Slit2-N) is a chemoattractant and the ?110-kDa N-terminal Slit2 fragment (Slit2-S) is a chemorepellent for human neutrophils. The effects of both Slit2 fragments were blocked by Abs to the Slit2 receptor Roundabout homolog 1 or the Slit2 coreceptor Syndecan-4. Slit2-N did not appear to activate Ras but increased phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate levels. Slit2-N-induced chemoattraction was unaffected by Ras inhibitors, reversed by PI3K inhibitors, and blocked by Cdc42 and Rac inhibitors. In contrast, Slit2-S activated Ras but did not increase phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate levels. Slit2-S-induced chemorepulsion was blocked by Ras and Rac inhibitors, not affected by PI3K inhibitors, and reversed by Cdc42 inhibitors. Slit2-N, but not Slit2-S, increased neutrophil adhesion, myosin L chain 2 phosphorylation, and polarized actin formation and single pseudopods at the leading edge of cells. Slit2-S induced multiple pseudopods. These data suggest that Slit2 isoforms use similar receptors but different intracellular signaling pathways and have different effects on the cytoskeleton and pseudopods to induce neutrophil chemoattraction or chemorepulsion.
Project description:Cells sense and interpret chemical gradients, and respond by localized responses that lead to directed migration. An open microfluidic device (OMD) was developed to provide quantitative information on both the gradient and morphological changes that occurred as cells crawled through various microfabricated channels. This device overcame problems that many current devices have been plagued with, such as complicated cell loading, media evaporation and channel blockage by air bubbles. We used a micropipette to set up stable gradients formed by passive diffusion and thus avoided confounding cellular responses produced by shear forces. Two versions of the OMD are reported here: one device that has channels with widths of 6, 8, 10 and 12 ?m, while the other has two large 100 ?m channels to minimize cellular interaction with lateral walls. These experiments compared the migration rates and qualitative behavior of Dictyostelium discoideum cells responding to measurable cAMP and folic acid gradients in small and large channels. We report on the influence that polarity has on a cell's ability to migrate when confined in a channel. Polarized cells that migrated to cAMP were significantly faster than the unpolarized cells that crawled toward folic acid. Unpolarized cells in wide channels often strayed off course, yet migrated faster than unpolarized cells in confined channels. Cells in channels farthest from the micropipette migrated through the channels at rates similar to cells in channels with higher concentrations, suggesting that cell speed was independent of mean concentration. Lastly, it was found that the polarized cells could easily change migration direction even when only the leading edge of the cell was exposed to a lateral gradient.
Project description:Migrating cells can extend their leading edge by forming myosin-driven blebs and F-actin-driven pseudopods. When coerced to migrate in resistive environments, Dictyostelium cells switch from using predominately pseudopods to blebs. Bleb formation has been shown to be chemotactic and can be influenced by the direction of the chemotactic gradient. In this study, we determine the blebbing responses of developed cells of Dictyostelium discoideum to cAMP gradients of varying steepness produced in microfluidic channels with different confining heights, ranging between 1.7 ?m and 3.8 ?m. We show that microfluidic confinement height, gradient steepness, buffer osmolarity and Myosin II activity are important factors in determining whether cells migrate with blebs or with pseudopods. Dictyostelium cells were observed migrating within the confines of microfluidic gradient channels. When the cAMP gradient steepness is increased from 0.7 nM/?m to 20 nM/?m, cells switch from moving with a mixture of blebs and pseudopods to moving only using blebs when chemotaxing in channels with confinement heights less than 2.4 ?m. Furthermore, the size of the blebs increases with gradient steepness and correlates with increases in myosin-II localization at the cell cortex. Reduction of intracellular pressure by high osmolarity buffer or inhibition of myosin-II by blebbistatin leads to a decrease in bleb formation and bleb size. Together, our data reveal that the protrusion type formed by migrating cells can be influenced by the channel height and the steepness of the cAMP gradient, and suggests that a combination of confinement-induced myosin-II localization and cAMP-regulated cortical contraction leads to increased intracellular fluid pressure and bleb formation.
Project description:Filamin (FLN) and non-muscle alpha-actinin are members of a family of F-actin cross-linking proteins that utilize Calponin Homology domains (CH-domain) for actin binding. Although these two proteins have been extensively characterized, little is known about what regulates their binding to F-actin filaments in the cell.We have constructed fusion proteins consisting of green fluorescent protein (GFP) with either the entire cross-linking protein or its actin-binding domain (ABD) and examined the localization of these fluorescent proteins in living cells under a variety of conditions. The full-length fusion proteins, but not the ABD's complemented the defects of cells lacking both endogenous proteins indicating that they are functional. The localization patterns of filamin (GFP-FLN) and alpha-actinin (GFP-alphaA) were overlapping but distinct. GFP-FLN localized to the peripheral cell cortex as well as to new pseudopods of unpolarized cells, but was observed to localize to the rear of polarized cells during cAMP and folate chemotaxis. GFP-alphaA was enriched in new pseudopods and at the front of polarized cells, but in all cases was absent from the peripheral cortex. Although both proteins appear to be involved in macropinocytosis, the association time of the GFP-probes with the internalized macropinosome differed. Surprisingly, the localization of the GFP-actin-binding domain fusion proteins precisely reflected that of their respective full length constructs, indicating that the localization of the protein was determined by the actin-binding domain alone. When expressed in a cell line lacking both filamin and alpha-actinin, the probes maintain their distinct localization patterns suggesting that they are not functionally redundant.These observations strongly suggest that the regulation of the binding of these proteins to actin filaments is built into the actin-binding domains. We suggest that different actin binding domains have different affinities for F-actin filaments in functionally distinct regions of the cytoskeleton.
Project description:Cells' ability to detect and orient themselves in chemoattractant gradients has been the subject of numerous studies, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown . Ras activation is the earliest polarized response to chemoattractant gradients downstream from heterotrimeric G proteins in Dictyostelium, and inhibition of Ras signaling results in directional migration defects . Activated Ras is enriched at the leading edge, promoting the localized activation of key chemotactic effectors, such as PI3K and TORC2 [2-5]. To investigate the role of Ras in directional sensing, we studied the effect of its misregulation by using cells with disrupted RasGAP activity. We identified an ortholog of mammalian NF1, DdNF1, as a major regulator of Ras activity in Dictyostelium. We show that disruption of nfaA leads to spatially and temporally unregulated Ras activity, causing cytokinesis and chemotaxis defects. By using unpolarized, latrunculin-treated cells, we show that tight regulation of Ras is important for gradient sensing. Together, our findings suggest that Ras is part of the cell's compass and that the RasGAP-mediated regulation of Ras activity affects directional sensing.
Project description:Many amoeboid cells move by extending pseudopods. Here I present a new stochastic model for chemotaxis that is based on pseudopod extensions by Dictyostelium cells. In the absence of external cues, pseudopod extension is highly ordered with two types of pseudopods: de novo formation of a pseudopod at the cell body in random directions, and alternating right/left splitting of an existing pseudopod that leads to a persistent zig-zag trajectory. We measured the directional probabilities of the extension of splitting and de novo pseudopods in chemoattractant gradients with different steepness. Very shallow cAMP gradients can bias the direction of splitting pseudopods, but the bias is not perfect. Orientation of de novo pseudopods require much steeper cAMP gradients and can be more precise. These measured probabilities of pseudopod directions were used to obtain an analytical model for chemotaxis of cell populations. Measured chemotaxis of wild-type cells and mutants with specific defects in these stochastic pseudopod properties are similar to predictions of the model. These results show that combining splitting and de novo pseudopods is a very effective way for cells to obtain very high sensitivity to stable gradient and still be responsive to changes in the direction of the gradient.
Project description:The trajectory of moving eukaryotic cells depends on the kinetics and direction of extending pseudopods. The direction of pseudopods has been well studied to unravel mechanisms for chemotaxis, wound healing and inflammation. However, the kinetics of pseudopod extension-when and why do pseudopods start and stop- is equally important, but is largely unknown. Here the START and STOP of about 4000 pseudopods was determined in four different species, at four conditions and in nine mutants (fast amoeboids Dictyostelium and neutrophils, slow mesenchymal stem cells, and fungus B.d. chytrid with pseudopod and a flagellum). The START of a first pseudopod is a random event with a probability that is species-specific (23%/s for neutrophils). In all species and conditions, the START of a second pseudopod is strongly inhibited by the extending first pseudopod, which depends on parallel filamentous actin/myosin in the cell cortex. Pseudopods extend at a constant rate by polymerization of branched F-actin at the pseudopod tip, which requires the Scar complex. The STOP of pseudopod extension is induced by multiple inhibitory processes that evolve during pseudopod extension and mainly depend on the increasing size of the pseudopod. Surprisingly, no differences in pseudopod kinetics are detectable between polarized, unpolarized or chemotactic cells, and also not between different species except for small differences in numerical values. This suggests that the analysis has uncovered the fundament of cell movement with distinct roles for stimulatory branched F-actin in the protrusion and inhibitory parallel F-actin in the contractile cortex.
Project description:Neutrophils and other amoeboid cells chemotax by steering their front ends towards chemoattractant. Although Ras, Rac, Cdc42 and RhoA small GTPases all regulate chemotaxis, it has been unclear how they spatiotemporally control polarization and steering. Using fluorescence biosensors in neutrophil-like PLB-985 cells and photorelease of chemoattractant, we show that local Cdc42 signals, but not those of Rac, RhoA or Ras, precede cell turning during chemotaxis. Furthermore, pre-existing local Cdc42 signals in morphologically unpolarized cells predict the future direction of movement on uniform stimulation. Moreover, inhibition of actin polymerization uncovers recurring local Cdc42 activity pulses, suggesting that Cdc42 has the excitable characteristic of the compass activity proposed in models of chemotaxis. Globally, Cdc42 antagonizes RhoA, and maintains a steep spatial activity gradient during migration, whereas Ras and Rac form shallow gradients. Thus, chemotactic steering and de novo polarization are both directed by locally excitable Cdc42 signals.
Project description:The mechanism of chemotaxis is one of the most interesting issues in modern cell biology. Recent work shows that shallow chemoattractant gradients do not induce the generation of pseudopods, as has been predicted in many models. This poses the question of how else cells can steer towards chemoattractants. Here we use a new computational algorithm to analyze the extension of pseudopods by Dictyostelium cells. We show that a shallow gradient of cAMP induces a small bias in the direction of pseudopod extension, without significantly affecting parameters such as pseudopod frequency or size. Persistent movement, caused by alternating left/right splitting of existing pseudopodia, amplifies the effects of this bias by up to 5-fold. Known players in chemotactic pathways play contrasting parts in this mechanism; PLA2 and cGMP signal to the cytoskeleton to regulate the splitting process, while PI 3-kinase and soluble guanylyl cyclase mediate the directional bias. The coordinated regulation of pseudopod generation, orientation and persistence by multiple signaling pathways allows eukaryotic cells to detect extremely shallow gradients.