G? Regulates Coupling between Actin Oscillators for Cell Polarity and Directional Migration.
ABSTRACT: For directional movement, eukaryotic cells depend on the proper organization of their actin cytoskeleton. This engine of motility is made up of highly dynamic nonequilibrium actin structures such as flashes, oscillations, and traveling waves. In Dictyostelium, oscillatory actin foci interact with signals such as Ras and phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3) to form protrusions. However, how signaling cues tame actin dynamics to produce a pseudopod and guide cellular motility is a critical open question in eukaryotic chemotaxis. Here, we demonstrate that the strength of coupling between individual actin oscillators controls cell polarization and directional movement. We implement an inducible sequestration system to inactivate the heterotrimeric G protein subunit G? and find that this acute perturbation triggers persistent, high-amplitude cortical oscillations of F-actin. Actin oscillators that are normally weakly coupled to one another in wild-type cells become strongly synchronized following acute inactivation of G?. This global coupling impairs sensing of internal cues during spontaneous polarization and sensing of external cues during directional motility. A simple mathematical model of coupled actin oscillators reveals the importance of appropriate coupling strength for chemotaxis: moderate coupling can increase sensitivity to noisy inputs. Taken together, our data suggest that G? regulates the strength of coupling between actin oscillators for efficient polarity and directional migration. As these observations are only possible following acute inhibition of G? and are masked by slow compensation in genetic knockouts, our work also shows that acute loss-of-function approaches can complement and extend the reach of classical genetics in Dictyostelium and likely other systems as well.
Project description:Migratory cells, including mammalian leukocytes and Dictyostelium, use G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling to regulate MAPK/ERK, PI3K, TORC2/AKT, adenylyl cyclase and actin polymerization, which collectively direct chemotaxis. Upon ligand binding, mammalian GPCRs are phosphorylated at cytoplasmic residues, uncoupling G-protein pathways, but activating other pathways. However, connections between GPCR phosphorylation and chemotaxis are unclear. In developing Dictyostelium, secreted cAMP serves as a chemoattractant, with extracellular cAMP propagated as oscillating waves to ensure directional migratory signals. cAMP oscillations derive from transient excitatory responses of adenylyl cyclase, which then rapidly adapts. We have studied chemotactic signaling in Dictyostelium that express non-phosphorylatable cAMP receptors and show through chemotaxis modeling, single-cell FRET imaging, pure and chimeric population wavelet quantification, biochemical analyses and TIRF microscopy, that receptor phosphorylation is required to regulate adenylyl cyclase adaptation, long-range oscillatory cAMP wave production and cytoskeletal actin response. Phosphorylation defects thus promote hyperactive actin polymerization at the cell periphery, misdirected pseudopodia and the loss of directional chemotaxis. Our data indicate that chemoattractant receptor phosphorylation is required to co-regulate essential pathways for migratory cell polarization and chemotaxis. Our results significantly extend the understanding of the function of GPCR phosphorylation, providing strong evidence that this evolutionarily conserved mechanism is required in a signal attenuation pathway that is necessary to maintain persistent directional movement of Dictyostelium, neutrophils and other migratory cells.
Project description:The PI3K/PTEN pathway, as the regulator of 3'-phosphoinositide (3'-PI) dynamics, has emerged as a key regulator of chemoattractant gradient sensing during chemotaxis in Dictyostelium and other cell types. Previous results have shown 3'-PIs to be important for regulating basal cell motility and sensing the direction and strength of the chemoattractant gradient. We examined the chemotaxis of wild-type cells and cells lacking PTEN or PI3K1 and 2 using analytical methods that allowed us to quantitatively discern differences between the genotype's ability to sense and efficiently respond to changes in gradient steepness during chemotaxis. We found that cells are capable of increasing their chemotactic accuracy and speed as they approach a micropipette in a manner that is dependent on the increasing strength of the concentration gradient and 3'-PI signaling. Further, our data show that 3'-PI signaling affects a cell's ability to coordinate speed and direction to increase chemotactic efficiency. Using to our knowledge a new measurement of chemotactic efficiency that reveals the degree of coordination between speed and accuracy, we found that cells also have the capacity to increase their chemotactic efficiency as they approach the micropipette. Like directional accuracy and speed, the increase in chemotactic efficiency of cells with increased gradient strength is sensitive to 3'-PI dysregulation. Our evidence suggests that receptor-driven 3'-PI signaling regulates the ability of a cell to capitalize on stronger directional inputs and minimize the effects of inaccurate turns to increase chemotactic efficiency.
Project description:The highly conserved enzyme arginyl-tRNA-protein transferase (Ate1) mediates arginylation, a posttranslational modification that is only incompletely understood at its molecular level. To investigate whether arginylation affects actin-dependent processes in a simple model organism, Dictyostelium discoideum, we knocked out the gene encoding Ate1 and characterized the phenotype of ate1-null cells. Visualization of actin cytoskeleton dynamics by live-cell microscopy indicated significant changes in comparison to wild-type cells. Ate1-null cells were almost completely lacking focal actin adhesion sites at the substrate-attached surface and were only weakly adhesive. In two-dimensional chemotaxis assays toward folate or cAMP, the motility of ate1-null cells was increased. However, in three-dimensional chemotaxis involving more confined conditions, the motility of ate1-null cells was significantly reduced. Live-cell imaging showed that GFP-tagged Ate1 rapidly relocates to sites of newly formed actin-rich protrusions. By mass spectrometric analysis, we identified four arginylation sites in the most abundant actin isoform of Dictyostelium, in addition to arginylation sites in other actin isoforms and several actin-binding proteins. In vitro polymerization assays with actin purified from ate1-null cells revealed a diminished polymerization capacity in comparison to wild-type actin. Our data indicate that arginylation plays a crucial role in the regulation of cytoskeletal activities.
Project description:Eukaryotic cells can migrate using different modes, ranging from amoeboid-like, during which actin filled protrusions come and go, to keratocyte-like, characterized by a stable morphology and persistent motion. How cells can switch between these modes is not well understood but waves of signaling events are thought to play an important role in these transitions. Here we present a simple two-component biochemical reaction-diffusion model based on relaxation oscillators and couple this to a model for the mechanics of cell deformations. Different migration modes, including amoeboid-like and keratocyte-like, naturally emerge through transitions determined by interactions between biochemical traveling waves, cell mechanics and morphology. The model predictions are explicitly verified by systematically reducing the protrusive force of the actin network in experiments using Dictyostelium discoideum cells. Our results indicate the importance of coupling signaling events to cell mechanics and morphology and may be applicable in a wide variety of cell motility systems.
Project description:The actin cytoskeleton controls the overall structure of cells and is highly polarized in chemotaxing cells, with F-actin assembled predominantly in the anterior leading edge and to a lesser degree in the cell's posterior. Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) has emerged as a central player in controlling actin polymerization. We have investigated WASP function and its regulation in chemotaxing Dictyostelium cells and demonstrated the specific and essential role of WASP in organizing polarized F-actin assembly in chemotaxing cells. Cells expressing very low levels of WASP show reduced F-actin levels and significant defects in polarized F-actin assembly, resulting in an inability to establish axial polarity during chemotaxis. GFP-WASP preferentially localizes at the leading edge and uropod of chemotaxing cells and the B domain of WASP is required for the localization of WASP. We demonstrated that the B domain binds to PI(4,5)P2 and PI(3,4,5)P3 with similar affinities. The interaction between the B domain and PI(3,4,5)P3 plays an important role for the localization of WASP to the leading edge in chemotaxing cells. Our results suggest that the spatial and temporal control of WASP localization and activation is essential for the regulation of directional motility.
Project description:Nonsense mutations that result in the expression of truncated, N-terminal, fragments of the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) tumour suppressor protein are found in most sporadic and some hereditary colorectal cancers. These mutations can cause tumorigenesis by eliminating ?-catenin-binding sites from APC, which leads to upregulation of ?-catenin and thereby results in the induction of oncogenes such as MYC. Here we show that, in three distinct experimental model systems, expression of an N-terminal fragment of APC (N-APC) results in loss of directionality, but not speed, of cell motility independently of changes in ?-catenin regulation. We developed a system to culture and fluorescently label live pieces of gut tissue to record high-resolution three-dimensional time-lapse movies of cells in situ. This revealed an unexpected complexity of normal gut cell migration, a key process in gut epithelial maintenance, with cells moving with spatial and temporal discontinuity. Quantitative comparison of gut tissue from wild-type mice and APC heterozygotes (APC(Min/+); multiple intestinal neoplasia model) demonstrated that cells in precancerous epithelia lack directional preference when moving along the crypt-villus axis. This effect was reproduced in diverse experimental systems: in developing chicken embryos, mesoderm cells expressing N-APC failed to migrate normally; in amoeboid Dictyostelium, which lack endogenous APC, expressing an N-APC fragment maintained cell motility, but the cells failed to perform directional chemotaxis; and multicellular Dictyostelium slug aggregates similarly failed to perform phototaxis. We propose that N-terminal fragments of APC represent a gain-of-function mutation that causes cells within tissue to fail to migrate directionally in response to relevant guidance cues. Consistent with this idea, crypts in histologically normal tissues of APC(Min/+) intestines are overpopulated with cells, suggesting that a lack of migration might cause cell accumulation in a precancerous state.
Project description:Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) is an actin nucleation promoting factor that is required for macrophages to directionally migrate towards various chemoattractants. The chemotaxis defect of WASp-deficient cells and its activation by Cdc42 in vivo suggest that WASp plays a role in directional sensing, however, its precise role in macrophage chemotaxis is still unclear. Using shRNA-mediated downregulation of WASp in the murine monocyte/macrophage cell line RAW/LR5 (shWASp), we found that WASp was responsible for the initial wave of actin polymerization in response to global stimulation with CSF-1, which in Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae and carcinoma cells has been correlated with the ability to migrate towards chemoattractants. Real-time monitoring of shWASp cells, as well as WASp?/? bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs), in response to a CSF-1 gradient revealed that the protrusions from WASp-deficient cells were directional, showing intact directional sensing. However, the protrusions from WASp-deficient cells demonstrated reduced persistence compared to their respective control shRNA and wild-type cells. Further examination showed that tyrosine phosphorylation of WASp was required for both the first wave of actin polymerization following global CSF-1 stimulation and proper directional responses towards CSF-1. Importantly, the PI3K, Rac1 and WAVE2 proteins were incorporated normally in CSF-1 - elicited protrusions in the absence of WASp, suggesting that membrane protrusion driven by the WAVE2 complex signaling is intact. Collectively, these results suggest that WASp and its phosphorylation play critical roles in coordinating the actin cytoskeleton rearrangements necessary for the persistence of protrusions required for directional migration of macrophages towards CSF-1.
Project description:Macrophage actin-associated tyrosine phosphorylated protein (MAYP) belongs to the Pombe Cdc15 homology (PCH) family of proteins involved in the regulation of actin-based functions including cell adhesion and motility. In mouse macrophages, MAYP is tyrosine phosphorylated after activation of the colony-stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF-1R), which also induces actin reorganization, membrane ruffling, cell spreading, polarization, and migration. Because MAYP associates with F-actin, we investigated the function of MAYP in regulating actin organization in macrophages. Overexpression of MAYP decreased CSF-1-induced membrane ruffling and increased filopodia formation, motility and CSF-1-mediated chemotaxis. The opposite phenotype was observed with reduced expression of MAYP, indicating that MAYP is a negative regulator of CSF-1-induced membrane ruffling and positively regulates formation of filopodia and directional migration. Overexpression of MAYP led to a reduction in total macrophage F-actin content but was associated with increased actin bundling. Consistent with this, purified MAYP bundled F-actin and regulated its turnover in vitro. In addition, MAYP colocalized with cortical and filopodial F-actin in vivo. Because filopodia are postulated to increase directional motility by acting as environmental sensors, the MAYP-stimulated increase in directional movement may be at least partly explained by enhancement of filopodia formation.
Project description:Dictyostelium discoideum amoeba is a well-established model organism for studying the crawling locomotion of eukaryotic cells. These amoebae extend pseudopodium - a temporary actin-based protrusion of their body membrane to probe the medium and crawl through it. Experiments show highly-ordered patterns in the growth direction of these pseudopodia, which results in persistence cell motility. Here, we propose a discrete model for studying and investigating the cell locomotion based on the experimental evidences. According to our model, Dictyostelium selects its pseudopodium growth direction based on a second-order Markov chain process, in the absence of external cues. Consequently, compared to a random walk process, our model indicates stronger growth in the mean-square displacement of cells, which is consistent with empirical findings. In the presence of external chemical stimulants, cells tend to align with the gradient of chemoattractant molecules. To quantify this tendency, we define a coupling coefficient between the pseudopodium extension direction and the gradient of an external stimulant, which depends on the local stimulant concentration and its gradient. Additionally, we generalize the model to weak-coupling regime by utilizing perturbation methods.
Project description:Chemotaxis is a specialized form of directed cell migration important for normal development, wound healing, and cancer metastasis. In the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, four signaling pathways act synergistically to maintain directional cell migration. However, it is unknown how these pathways are coordinated in space and time to achieve persistent chemotaxis. Here, we show that the mRNAs and proteins of these four chemotaxis pathways and actin are preferentially enriched at the cell front during dynamic cell migration, which requires the Pumilio-related RNA-binding protein Puf118. Significantly, disruption of the Pumilio-binding sequence in chemotaxis pathway mRNAs, or mislocalization of Puf118 and its target mRNAs to the cell rear perturbs efficient chemotaxis in shallow cAMP gradients, without affecting the abundance of the mRNAs or encoded proteins. Thus, the polarized localization of Puf118-bound mRNAs coordinates the distribution of different chemotaxis pathway proteins in time and space, leading to cell polarization and persistent chemotaxis.