ADF/cofilin promotes invadopodial membrane recycling during cell invasion in vivo.
ABSTRACT: Invadopodia are protrusive, F-actin-driven membrane structures that are thought to mediate basement membrane transmigration during development and tumor dissemination. An understanding of the mechanisms regulating invadopodia has been hindered by the difficulty of examining these dynamic structures in native environments. Using an RNAi screen and live-cell imaging of anchor cell (AC) invasion in Caenorhabditis elegans, we have identified UNC-60A (ADF/cofilin) as an essential regulator of invadopodia. UNC-60A localizes to AC invadopodia, and its loss resulted in a dramatic slowing of F-actin dynamics and an inability to breach basement membrane. Optical highlighting indicated that UNC-60A disassembles actin filaments at invadopodia. Surprisingly, loss of unc-60a led to the accumulation of invadopodial membrane and associated components within the endolysosomal compartment. Photobleaching experiments revealed that during normal invasion the invadopodial membrane undergoes rapid recycling through the endolysosome. Together, these results identify the invadopodial membrane as a specialized compartment whose recycling to form dynamic, functional invadopodia is dependent on localized F-actin disassembly by ADF/cofilin.
Project description:The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has two ADF (actin-depolymerizing factor)/cofilin isoforms, UNC-60A and UNC-60B, which are expressed by the unc60 gene by alternative splicing. UNC-60A has higher activity to cause net depolymerization, and to inhibit polymerization, than UNC-60B. UNC-60B, on the other hand, shows much stronger severing activity than UNC-60A. To understand the structural basis of their functional differences, we have determined the solution structures of UNC-60A and UNC-60B proteins and characterized their backbone dynamics. Both UNC-60A and UNC-60B show a conserved ADF/cofilin fold. The G-actin (globular actin)-binding regions of the two proteins are structurally and dynamically conserved. Accordingly, UNC-60A and UNC-60B individually bind to rabbit muscle ADP-G-actin with high affinities, with Kd values of 32.25 nM and 8.62 nM respectively. The primary differences between these strong and weak severing proteins were observed in the orientation and dynamics of the F-actin (filamentous actin)-binding loop (F-loop). In the strong severing activity isoform UNC-60B, the orientation of the F-loop was towards the recently identified F-loop-binding region on F-actin, and the F-loop was relatively more flexible with 14 residues showing motions on a nanosecond-picosecond timescale. In contrast, in the weak severing protein isoform UNC-60A, the orientation of the F-loop was away from the F-loop-binding region and inclined towards its own C-terminal and strand ?6. It was also relatively less flexible with only five residues showing motions on a nanosecond-picosecond timescale. These differences in structure and dynamics seem to directly correlate with the differential F-actin site-binding and severing properties of UNC-60A and UNC-60B, and other related ADF/cofilin proteins.
Project description:CAP (cyclase-associated protein) is a conserved regulator of actin filament dynamics. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, CAS-1 is an isoform of CAP that is expressed in striated muscle and regulates sarcomeric actin assembly. In the present study, we report that CAS-2, a second CAP isoform in C. elegans, attenuates the actin-monomer-sequestering effect of ADF (actin depolymerizing factor)/cofilin to increase the steady-state levels of actin filaments in an ATP-dependent manner. CAS-2 binds to actin monomers without a strong preference for either ATP- or ADP-actin. CAS-2 strongly enhances the exchange of actin-bound nucleotides even in the presence of UNC-60A, a C. elegans ADF/cofilin that inhibits nucleotide exchange. UNC-60A induces the depolymerization of actin filaments and sequesters actin monomers, whereas CAS-2 reverses the monomer-sequestering effect of UNC-60A in the presence of ATP, but not in the presence of only ADP or the absence of ATP or ADP. A 1:100 molar ratio of CAS-2 to UNC-60A is sufficient to increase actin filaments. CAS-2 has two independent actin-binding sites in its N- and C-terminal halves, and the C-terminal half is necessary and sufficient for the observed activities of the full-length CAS-2. These results suggest that CAS-2 (CAP) and UNC-60A (ADF/cofilin) are important in the ATP-dependent regulation of the actin monomer-filament equilibrium.
Project description:Tissue-specific alternative pre-mRNA splicing is essential for increasing diversity of functionally different gene products. In Caenorhabditis elegans, UNC-60A and UNC-60B, nonmuscle and muscle isoforms of actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin, are expressed by alternative splicing of unc-60 and regulate distinct actin-dependent developmental processes. We report that SUP-12, a member of a new family of RNA recognition motif (RRM) proteins, including SEB-4, regulates muscle-specific splicing of unc-60. In sup-12 mutants, expression of UNC-60B is decreased, whereas UNC-60A is up-regulated in muscle. sup-12 mutations strongly suppress muscle defects in unc-60B mutants by allowing expression of UNC-60A in muscle that can substitute for UNC-60B, thus unmasking their functional redundancy. SUP-12 is expressed in muscle and localized to the nuclei in a speckled pattern. The RRM domain of SUP-12 binds to several sites of the unc-60 pre-mRNA including the UG repeats near the 3'-splice site in the first intron. Our results suggest that SUP-12 is a novel tissue-specific splicing factor and regulates functional redundancy among ADF/cofilin isoforms.
Project description:Disassembly of actin filaments by actin-depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin and actin-interacting protein 1 (AIP1) is a conserved mechanism to promote reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. We previously reported that unc-78, an AIP1 gene in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, is required for organized assembly of sarcomeric actin filaments in the body wall muscle. unc-78 functions in larval and adult muscle, and an unc-78-null mutant is homozygous viable and shows only weak phenotypes in embryos. Here we report that a second AIP1 gene, aipl-1 (AIP1-like gene-1), has overlapping function with unc-78, and that depletion of the two AIP1 isoforms causes embryonic lethality. A single aipl-1-null mutation did not cause a detectable phenotype. However, depletion of both unc-78 and aipl-1 arrested development at late embryonic stages due to severe disorganization of sarcomeric actin filaments in body wall muscle. In vitro, both AIPL-1 and UNC-78 preferentially cooperated with UNC-60B, a muscle-specific ADF/cofilin isoform, in actin filament disassembly but not with UNC-60A, a nonmuscle ADF/cofilin. AIPL-1 is expressed in embryonic muscle, and forced expression of AIPL-1 in adult muscle compensated for the function of UNC-78. Thus our results suggest that enhancement of actin filament disassembly by ADF/cofilin and AIP1 proteins is critical for embryogenesis.
Project description:Invadopodia are specialized membrane protrusions composed of F-actin, actin regulators, signaling proteins, and a dynamically trafficked invadopodial membrane that drive cell invasion through basement membrane (BM) barriers in development and cancer. Due to the challenges of studying invasion in vivo, mechanisms controlling invadopodia formation in their native environments remain poorly understood. We performed a sensitized genome-wide RNAi screen and identified 13 potential regulators of invadopodia during anchor cell (AC) invasion into the vulval epithelium in C. elegans. Confirming the specificity of this screen, we identified the Rho GTPase cdc-42, which mediates invadopodia formation in many cancer cell lines. Using live-cell imaging, we show that CDC-42 localizes to the AC-BM interface and is activated by an unidentified vulval signal(s) that induces invasion. CDC-42 is required for the invasive membrane localization of WSP-1 (N-WASP), a CDC-42 effector that promotes polymerization of F-actin. Loss of CDC-42 or WSP-1 resulted in fewer invadopodia and delayed BM breaching. We also characterized a novel invadopodia regulator, gdi-1 (Rab GDP dissociation inhibitor), which mediates membrane trafficking. We show that GDI-1 functions in the AC to promote invadopodia formation. In the absence of GDI-1, the specialized invadopodial membrane was no longer trafficked normally to the invasive membrane, and instead was distributed to plasma membrane throughout the cell. Surprisingly, the pro-invasive signal(s) from the vulval cells also controls GDI-1 activity and invadopodial membrane trafficking. These studies represent the first in vivo screen for genes regulating invadopodia and demonstrate that invadopodia formation requires the integration of distinct cellular processes that are coordinated by an extracellular cue.
Project description:Though critical to normal development and cancer metastasis, how cells traverse basement membranes is poorly understood. A central impediment has been the challenge of visualizing invasive cell interactions with basement membrane in vivo. By developing live-cell imaging methods to follow anchor cell (AC) invasion in Caenorhabditis elegans, we identify F-actin-based invadopodia that breach basement membrane. When an invadopodium penetrates basement membrane, it rapidly transitions into a stable invasive process that expands the breach and crosses into the vulval tissue. We find that the netrin receptor UNC-40 (DCC) specifically enriches at the site of basement membrane breach and that activation by UNC-6 (netrin) directs focused F-actin formation, generating the invasive protrusion and the cessation of invadopodia. Using optical highlighting of basement membrane components, we further demonstrate that rather than relying solely on proteolytic dissolution, the AC's protrusion physically displaces basement membrane. These studies reveal an UNC-40-mediated morphogenetic transition at the cell-basement membrane interface that directs invading cells across basement membrane barriers.
Project description:Invadopodia are F-actin-rich membrane protrusions that breach basement membrane barriers during cell invasion. Since their discovery more than 30 years ago, invadopodia have been extensively investigated in cancer cells in vitro, where great advances in understanding their composition, formation, cytoskeletal regulation, and control of the matrix metalloproteinase MT1-MMP trafficking have been made. In contrast, few studies examining invadopodia have been conducted in vivo, leaving their physiological regulation unclear. Recent live-cell imaging and gene perturbation studies in C. elegans have revealed that invadopodia are formed with a unique invadopodial membrane, defined by its specialized lipid and associated protein composition, which is rapidly recycled through the endolysosome. Here, we provide evidence that the invadopodial membrane is conserved and discuss its possible functions in traversing basement membrane barriers. Discovery and examination of the invadopodial membrane has important implications in understanding the regulation, assembly, and function of invadopodia in both normal and disease settings.
Project description:RhoGTPases have been implicated in the regulation of cancer metastasis. Invasive carcinoma cells form invadopodia, F-actin-rich matrix-degrading protrusions that are thought to be important for tumor cell invasion and intravasation. Regulation of actin dynamics at invadopodial protrusions is crucial to drive invasion. This process requires the severing activity of cofilin to generate actin-free barbed ends. Previous work demonstrates that cofilin's severing activity is tightly regulated through multiple mechanisms, including regulation of cofilin serine phosphorylation by Rho GTPases. However, it is not known which Rho GTPase is involved in regulating cofilin's phosphorylation status at invadopodia.We show here, for the first time, how RhoC activation is controlled at invadopodia and how this activation regulates cofilin phosphorylation to control cofilin's generation of actin-free barbed ends. Live-cell imaging of fluorescent RhoC biosensor reveals that RhoC activity is spatially confined to areas surrounding invadopodia. This spatiotemporal restriction of RhoC activity is controlled by "spatially distinct regulatory elements" that confine RhoC activation within this compartment. p190RhoGEF localizes around invadopodia to activate RhoC, whereas p190RhoGAP localizes inside invadopodia to deactivate the GTPase within the structure. RhoC activation enhances cofilin phosphorylation outside invadopodia.These results show how RhoC activity is spatially regulated at invadopodia by p190RhoGEF and p190RhoGAP. RhoC activation in areas surrounding invadopodia restricts cofilin activity to within the invadopodium core, resulting in a focused invadopodial protrusion. This mechanism likely enhances tumor cell invasion during metastasis.
Project description:Tropomyosin binds to actin filaments and is implicated in stabilization of actin cytoskeleton. We examined biochemical and cell biological properties of Caenorhabditis elegans tropomyosin (CeTM) and obtained evidence that CeTM is antagonistic to ADF/cofilin-dependent actin filament dynamics. We purified CeTM, actin, and UNC-60B (a muscle-specific ADF/cofilin isoform), all of which are derived from C. elegans, and showed that CeTM and UNC-60B bound to F-actin in a mutually exclusive manner. CeTM inhibited UNC-60B-induced actin depolymerization and enhancement of actin polymerization. Within isolated native thin filaments, actin and CeTM were detected as major components, whereas UNC-60B was present at a trace amount. Purified UNC-60B was unable to interact with the native thin filaments unless CeTM and other associated proteins were removed by high-salt extraction. Purified CeTM was sufficient to restore the resistance of the salt-extracted filaments from UNC-60B. In muscle cells, CeTM and UNC-60B were localized in different patterns. Suppression of CeTM by RNA interference resulted in disorganized actin filaments and paralyzed worms in wild-type background. However, in an ADF/cofilin mutant background, suppression of CeTM did not worsen actin organization and worm motility. These results suggest that tropomyosin is a physiological inhibitor of ADF/cofilin-dependent actin dynamics.
Project description:Regulated disassembly of actin filaments is involved in several cellular processes that require dynamic rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. Actin-interacting protein (AIP) 1 specifically enhances disassembly of actin-depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin-bound actin filaments. In vitro, AIP1 actively disassembles filaments, caps barbed ends, and binds to the side of filaments. However, how AIP1 functions in the cellular actin cytoskeletal dynamics is not understood. We compared biochemical and in vivo activities of mutant UNC-78 proteins and found that impaired activity of mutant UNC-78 proteins to enhance disassembly of ADF/cofilin-bound actin filaments is associated with inability to regulate striated organization of actin filaments in muscle cells. Six functionally important residues are present in the N-terminal beta-propeller, whereas one residue is located in the C-terminal beta-propeller, suggesting the presence of two separate sites for interaction with ADF/cofilin and actin. In vitro, these mutant UNC-78 proteins exhibited variable alterations in actin disassembly and/or barbed end-capping activities, suggesting that both activities are important for its in vivo function. These results indicate that the actin-regulating activity of AIP1 in cooperation with ADF/cofilin is essential for its in vivo function to regulate actin filament organization in muscle cells.