Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors: regulators of Rho GTPase activity in development and disease.
ABSTRACT: The aberrant activity of Ras homologous (Rho) family small GTPases (20 human members) has been implicated in cancer and other human diseases. However, in contrast to the direct mutational activation of Ras found in cancer and developmental disorders, Rho GTPases are activated most commonly in disease by indirect mechanisms. One prevalent mechanism involves aberrant Rho activation via the deregulated expression and/or activity of Rho family guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs). RhoGEFs promote formation of the active GTP-bound state of Rho GTPases. The largest family of RhoGEFs is comprised of the Dbl family RhoGEFs with 70 human members. The multitude of RhoGEFs that activate a single Rho GTPase reflects the very specific role of each RhoGEF in controlling distinct signaling mechanisms involved in Rho activation. In this review, we summarize the role of Dbl RhoGEFs in development and disease, with a focus on Ect2 (epithelial cell transforming squence 2), Tiam1 (T-cell lymphoma invasion and metastasis 1), Vav and P-Rex1/2 (PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 (phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-triphosphate)-dependent Rac exchanger).
Project description:Rho family GTPases regulate a wide range of cellular processes. This includes cellular dynamics where three subfamilies, Rho, Rac, and Cdc42, are known to regulate cell shape and migration though coordinate action. Activation of Rho proteins largely depends on Rho Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factors (RhoGEFs) through a catalytic Dbl homology (DH) domain linked to a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain that subserves various functions. The PH domains from Lbc RhoGEFs, which specifically activate RhoA, have been shown to bind to activated RhoA. Here, p190RhoGEF is shown to also bind Rac1·GTP. Crystal structures reveal that activated Rac1 and RhoA use their effector-binding surfaces to associate with the same hydrophobic surface on the PH domain. Both activated RhoA and Rac1 can stimulate exchange of nucleotide on RhoA by localization of p190RhoGEF to its substrate, RhoA·GDP, in vitro. The binding of activated RhoA provides a mechanism for positive feedback regulation as previously proposed for the family of Lbc RhoGEFs. In contrast, the novel interaction between activated Rac1 and p190RhoGEF reveals a potential mechanism for cross-talk regulation where Rac can directly effect stimulation of RhoA. The greater capacity of Rac1 to stimulate p190RhoGEF among the Lbc RhoGEFs suggests functional specialization.
Project description:Activation of certain classes of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) can lead to alterations in the actin cytoskeleton, gene transcription, cell transformation, and other processes that are known to be regulated by Rho family small-molecular-weight GTPases. Although these responses can occur indirectly via cross-talk from canonical heterotrimeric G protein cascades, it has recently been demonstrated that Dbl family Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs) can serve as the direct downstream effectors of heterotrimeric G proteins. Heterotrimeric Galpha(12/13), Galpha(q), and Gbetagamma subunits are each now known to directly bind and regulate RhoGEFs. Atomic structures have recently been determined for several of these RhoGEFs and their G protein complexes, providing fresh insight into the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction between GPCRs and small molecular weight G proteins. This review covers what is currently known about the structure, function, and regulation of these recently recognized effectors of heterotrimeric G proteins.
Project description:The dynamics of cell morphology in eukaryotes is largely controlled by small GTPases of the Rho family. Rho GTPases are activated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs), of which diffuse B-cell lymphoma (Dbl)-like members form the largest family. Here, we surveyed Dbl-like sequences from 175 eukaryotic genomes and illuminate how the Dbl family evolved in all eukaryotic supergroups. By combining probabilistic phylogenetic approaches and functional domain analysis, we show that the human Dbl-like family is made of 71 members, structured into 20 subfamilies. The 71 members were already present in ancestral jawed vertebrates, but several members were subsequently lost in specific clades, up to 12% in birds. The jawed vertebrate repertoire was established from two rounds of duplications that occurred between tunicates, cyclostomes, and jawed vertebrates. Duplicated members showed distinct tissue distributions, conserved at least in Amniotes. All 20 subfamilies have members in Deuterostomes and Protostomes. Nineteen subfamilies are present in Porifera, the first phylum that diverged in Metazoa, 14 in Choanoflagellida and Filasterea, single-celled organisms closely related to Metazoa and three in Fungi, the sister clade to Metazoa. Other eukaryotic supergroups show an extraordinary variability of Dbl-like repertoires as a result of repeated and independent gain and loss events. Last, we observed that in Metazoa, the number of Dbl-like RhoGEFs varies in proportion of cell signaling complexity. Overall, our analysis supports the conclusion that Dbl-like RhoGEFs were present at the origin of eukaryotes and evolved as highly adaptive cell signaling mediators.
Project description:In order to metastasise, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) must make dynamic changes in cell shape. The shape of all eukaryotic cells is regulated by Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors (RhoGEFs), which activate Rho-family GTPases in response to mechanical and informational cues. In contrast, Rho GTPase-activating proteins (RhoGAPs) inhibit Rho GTPases. However, which RhoGEFs and RhoGAPS couple TNBC cell shape to changes in their environment is very poorly understood. Moreover, whether the activity of particular RhoGEFs and RhoGAPs become dysregulated as cells evolve the ability to metastasise is not clear. Towards the ultimate goal of identifying RhoGEFs and RhoGAPs that are essential for TNBC metastasis, we performed an RNAi screen to isolate RhoGEFs and RhoGAPs that contribute to the morphogenesis of the highly metastatic TNBC cell line LM2, and its less-metastatic parental cell line MDA-MB-231. For ~6 million cells from each cell line, we measured 127 different features following the depletion of 142 genes. Using a linear classifier scheme we also describe the morphological heterogeneity of each gene-depleted population.
Project description:The small Rho GTPases regulate important cellular processes that affect cancer metastasis, such as cell survival and proliferation, actin dynamics, adhesion, migration, invasion and transcriptional activation. The Rho GTPases function as molecular switches cycling between an active GTP-bound and inactive guanosine diphosphate (GDP)-bound conformation. It is known that Rho GTPase activities are mainly regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs), GTPase-activating proteins (RhoGAPs), GDP dissociation inhibitors (RhoGDIs) and guanine nucleotide exchange modifiers (GEMs). These Rho GTPase regulators are often dysregulated in cancer; however, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a large family of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate protein-coding gene expression, have been shown to play important roles in cancer metastasis. Recent studies showed that miRNAs are capable of directly targeting RhoGAPs, RhoGEFs, and RhoGDIs, and regulate the activities of Rho GTPases. This not only provides new evidence for the critical role of miRNA dysregulation in cancer metastasis, it also reveals novel mechanisms for Rho GTPase regulation. This review summarizes recent exciting findings showing that miRNAs play important roles in regulating Rho GTPase regulators (RhoGEFs, RhoGAPs, RhoGDIs), thus affecting Rho GTPase activities and cancer metastasis. The potential opportunities and challenges for targeting miRNAs and Rho GTPase regulators in treating cancer metastasis are also discussed. A comprehensive list of the currently validated miRNA-targeting of small Rho GTPase regulators is presented as a reference resource.
Project description:Rho GTPases are important regulators of many cellular processes. Subversion of Rho GTPases is a common infection strategy employed by many important human pathogens. Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EPEC and EHEC) translocate the effector EspH, which inactivates mammalian Rho guanine exchange factors (GEFs), as well as Map, EspT, and EspM2, which, by mimicking mammalian RhoGEFs, activate Rho GTPases. In this study we found that EspH induces focal adhesion disassembly, triggers cell detachment, activates caspase-3, and induces cytotoxicity. EspH-induced cell detachment and caspase-3 activation can be offset by EspT, EspM2, and the Salmonella Cdc42/Rac1 GEF effector SopE, which remain active in the presence of EspH. EPEC and EHEC therefore use a novel strategy of controlling Rho GTPase activity by translocating one effector to inactivate mammalian RhoGEFs, replacing them with bacterial RhoGEFs. This study also expands the functional range of bacterial RhoGEFs to include cell adhesion and survival.Many human pathogens use a type III secretion system to translocate effectors that can functionally be divided into signaling, disabling, and countervirulence effectors. Among the signaling effectors are those that activate Rho GTPases, which play a central role in coordinating actin dynamics. However, many pathogens also translocate effectors with antagonistic or counteractive functions. For example, Salmonella translocates SopE and SptP, which sequentially turn Rac1 and Cdc42 on and off. In this paper, we show that enteropathogenic E. coli translocates EspH, which inactivates mammalian RhoGEFs and triggers cytotoxicity and at the same time translocates the bacterial RhoGEFs EspM2 and EspT, which are insensitive to EspH, and so neutralizes EspH-induced focal adhesion disassembly, cell detachment, and caspase-3 activation. Our data point to an intriguing infection strategy in which EPEC and EHEC override cellular Rho GTPase signaling by disabling mammalian RhoGEFs and replacing them with with bacterial RhoGEFs that promote cell adhesion and survival.
Project description:Spatio-temporal activation of Rho GTPases is essential for their function in a variety of biological processes and is achieved in part by regulating the localization of their activators, the Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factors (RhoGEFs). In this study, we provide the first characterization of the full-length protein encoded by RhoGEF TEM4 and delineate its domain structure, catalytic activity, and subcellular localization. First, we determined that TEM4 can stimulate guanine nucleotide exchange on RhoA and the related RhoB and RhoC isoforms. Second, we determined that TEM4, like other Dbl RhoGEFs, contains a functional pleckstrin homology (PH) domain immediately C-terminal to the catalytic Dbl homology (DH) domain. Third, using immunofluorescence analysis, we showed that TEM4 localizes to the actin cytoskeleton through sequences in the N-terminus of TEM4 independently of the DH/PH domains. Using site-directed mutagenesis and deletion analysis, we identified a minimal region between residues 81 and 135 that binds directly to F-actin and has an ?90-fold higher affinity for ATP-loaded F-actin. Finally, we demonstrated that a single point mutation (R130D) within full-length TEM4 abolishes actin binding and localization of TEM4 to the actin cytoskeleton, as well as dampens the in vivo activity of TEM4 towards RhoC. Taken together, our data demonstrate that TEM4 contains a novel actin binding domain and binding to actin is essential for TEM4 subcellular localization and activity. The unique subcellular localization of TEM4 suggests a spatially-restricted activity and expands the diversity of mechanisms by which RhoGEF function can be regulated.
Project description:Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) and Ras and Rho family small GTPases are key regulators of cell polarization, motility, and chemotaxis. They influence each other's activities by direct and indirect feedback processes that are only partially understood. Here, we show that 21 small GTPase homologs activate PI3K. Using a microscopy-based binding assay, we show that K-Ras, H-Ras, and five homologous Ras family small GTPases function upstream of PI3K by directly binding the PI3K catalytic subunit, p110. In contrast, several Rho family small GTPases activated PI3K by an indirect cooperative positive feedback that required a combination of Rac, CDC42, and RhoG small GTPase activities. Thus, a distributed network of Ras and Rho family small GTPases induces and reinforces PI3K activity, explaining past challenges to elucidate the specific relevance of different small GTPases in regulating PI3K and controlling cell polarization and chemotaxis.
Project description:Rho GTPases are implicated in a multitude of cellular processes regulated by membrane receptors, such as cytoskeletal rearrangements, gene transcription and cell growth and motility. Activation of these GTPases is under the direct control of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), the Dbl family proteins. By searching protein databases we have identified a novel Rho-GEF, termed p114-Rho-GEF, which similarly to other Rho-GEFs contains a Dbl homology domain followed by a pleckstrin homology domain. p114-Rho-GEF interacted specifically with RhoA, in its nucleotide-free and guanosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate-bound states, but not with Rac1 and Cdc42, and efficiently catalysed guanine nucleotide exchange of RhoA. Consistent with these results in vitro was our finding that the overexpression of p114-Rho-GEF in J82 and HEK-293 cells induced the formation of actin stress fibres and stimulated serum-response-factor-mediated gene transcription in a Rho-dependent manner. Rho-mediated transcriptional activation induced by M(3) muscarinic acetylcholine and lysophosphatidic acid receptors was enhanced by p114-Rho-GEF, suggesting that the activity of this novel Rho-GEF, which is widely expressed in human tissues, can be controlled by G-protein-coupled receptors.
Project description:The Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains from the Lbc family of Rho Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors (Lbc RhoGEFs) interact with activated Rho family GTPases. All 7 Lbc RhoGEFs associate directly with activated Rho GTPases via their PH domains. However, the binding affinities between the PH domains and the GTPases vary greatly. Here we present two crystal structures at resolutions of 1.4?Å and 2.0?Å of RhoA complexed with the PH domain from p114RhoGEF (PDB access code 6BCB) and AKAP-LbcRhoGEF (PDB access code 6BCA), respectively. These high resolution structures, together with the earlier structures of PDZRhoGEF-PH·RhoA and p190RhoGEF-PH·RhoA complexes, identify a highly conserved interface between the PH domains from Lbc-RhoGEFs and activated Rho GTPases. This manuscript is related to the manuscript titled "Direct Regulation of p190RhoGEF by Activated Rho and Rac GTPases" published in the Journal of Structural Biology.