Locally excitable Cdc42 signals steer cells during chemotaxis.
ABSTRACT: 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:Many eukaryotic cells regulate their mobility by external cues. Genetic studies have identified >100 components that participate in chemotaxis, which hinders the identification of the conceptual framework of how cells sense and respond to shallow chemical gradients. The activation of Ras occurs during basal locomotion and is an essential connector between receptor and cytoskeleton during chemotaxis. Using a sensitive assay for activated Ras, we show here that activation of Ras and F-actin forms two excitable systems that are coupled through mutual positive feedback and memory. This coupled excitable system leads to short-lived patches of activated Ras and associated F-actin that precede the extension of protrusions. In buffer, excitability starts frequently with Ras activation in the back/side of the cell or with F-actin in the front of the cell. In a shallow gradient of chemoattractant, local Ras activation triggers full excitation of Ras and subsequently F-actin at the side of the cell facing the chemoattractant, leading to directed pseudopod extension and chemotaxis. A computational model shows that the coupled excitable Ras/F-actin system forms the driving heart for the ordered-stochastic extension of pseudopods in buffer and for efficient directional extension of pseudopods in chemotactic gradients.
Project description:Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) activates the actin-related protein 2/3 homolog (Arp2/3) complex and regulates actin polymerization in a physiological setting. Cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) is a key activator of WASP, which binds Cdc42 through a Cdc42/Rac-interactive binding (CRIB)-containing region that defines a subset of Cdc42 effectors. Here, using site-directed mutagenesis and binding affinity determination and kinetic assays, we report the results of an investigation into the energetic contributions of individual WASP residues to both the Cdc42-WASP binding interface and the kinetics of complex formation. Our results support the previously proposed dock-and-coalesce binding mechanism, initiated by electrostatic steering driven by WASP's basic region and followed by a coalescence phase likely driven by the conserved CRIB motif. The WASP basic region, however, appears also to play a role in the final complex, as its mutation affected both on- and off-rates, suggesting a more comprehensive physiological role for this region centered on the C-terminal triad of positive residues. These results highlight the expanding roles of the basic region in WASP and other CRIB-containing effector proteins in regulating complex cellular processes and coordinating multiple input signals. The data presented improve our understanding of the Cdc42-WASP interface and also add to the body of information available for Cdc42-effector complex formation, therapeutic targeting of which has promise for Ras-driven cancers. Our findings suggest that combining high-affinity peptide-binding sequences with short electrostatic steering sequences could increase the efficacy of peptidomimetic candidates designed to interfere with Cdc42 signaling in cancer.
Project description:Chemoattractants like f-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLP) induce neutrophils to polarize by triggering divergent signals that promote the formation of protrusive filamentous actin (F-actin; frontness) and RhoA-dependent actomyosin contraction (backness). Frontness locally inhibits backness and vice versa. In neutrophil-like HL60 cells, blocking phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-tris-phosphate (PIP3) accumulation with selective inhibitors of PIP3 synthesis completely prevents fMLP from activating a PIP3-dependent kinase and Cdc42 but not from stimulating F-actin accumulation. PIP3-deficient cells show reduced fMLP-dependent Rac activity and unstable pseudopods, which is consistent with the established role of PIP3 as a mediator of positive feedback pathways that augment Rac activation at the front. Surprisingly, such cells also show reduced RhoA activation and RhoA-dependent contraction at the trailing edge, leading to the formation of multiple lateral pseudopods. Cdc42 mediates PIP3's positive effect on RhoA activity. Thus, PIP3 and Cdc42 maintain stable polarity with a single front and a single back not only by strengthening pseudopods but also, at longer range, by promoting RhoA-dependent actomyosin contraction at the trailing edge.
Project description:Deubiquitinating enzymes are now emerging as potential therapeutic targets that control many cellular processes, but few have been demonstrated to control cell motility. Here, we show that ubiquitin-specific protease 17 (USP17) is rapidly and transiently induced in response to chemokines SDF-1/CXCL12 and IL-8/CXCL8 in both primary cells and cell lines, and that its depletion completely blocks chemokine-induced cell migration and cytoskeletal rearrangements. Using live cell imaging, we demonstrate that USP17 is required for both elongated and amoeboid motility, in addition to chemotaxis. USP17 has previously been reported to disrupt Ras localization and we now find that USP17 depletion blocks chemokine-induced subcellular relocalization of GTPases Cdc42, Rac and RhoA, which are GTPases essential for cell motility. Collectively, these results demonstrate that USP17 has a critical role in cell migration and may be a useful drug target for both inflammatory and metastatic disease.
Project description:Chemotaxis requires localized F-actin polymerization at the site of the plasma membrane closest to the chemoattractant source, a process controlled by Rac/Cdc42 GTPases. We identify Dictyostelium RacB as an essential mediator of this process. RacB is activated upon chemoattractant stimulation, exhibiting biphasic kinetics paralleling F-actin polymerization. racB null cells have strong chemotaxis and morphogenesis defects and a severely reduced chemoattractant-mediated F-actin polymerization and PAKc activation. RacB activation is partly controlled by the PI3K pathway. pi3k1/2 null cells and wild-type cells treated with LY294002 exhibit a significantly reduced second peak of RacB activation, which is linked to pseudopod extension, whereas a PTEN hypomorph exhibits elevated RacB activation. We identify a RacGEF, RacGEF1, which has specificity for RacB in vitro. racgef1 null cells exhibit reduced RacB activation and cells expressing mutant RacGEF1 proteins display chemotaxis and morphogenesis defects. RacGEF1 localizes to sites of F-actin polymerization. Inhibition of this localization reduces RacB activation, suggesting a feedback loop from RacB via F-actin polymerization to RacGEF1. Our findings provide a critical linkage between chemoattractant stimulation, F-actin polymerization, and chemotaxis in Dictyostelium.
Project description:Rho GTPases are versatile regulators of cell shape that act on the actin cytoskeleton. Studies using Rho GTPase mutants have shown that, in some cells, Rac1 and Cdc42 regulate the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia, respectively at the leading edge, whereas RhoA mediates contraction at the rear of moving cells. However, recent reports have described a zone of RhoA/ROCK activation at the front of cells undergoing motility. In this study, we use a FRET-based RhoA biosensor to show that RhoA activation localizes to the leading edge of EGF-stimulated cells. Inhibition of Rho or ROCK enhanced protrusion, yet markedly inhibited cell motility; these changes correlated with a marked activation of Rac-1 at the cell edge. Surprisingly, whereas EGF-stimulated protrusion in control MTLn3 cells is Rac-independent and Cdc42-dependent, the opposite pattern is observed in MTLn3 cells after inhibition of ROCK. Thus, Rho and ROCK suppress Rac-1 activation at the leading edge, and inhibition of ROCK causes a switch between Cdc42 and Rac-1 as the dominant Rho GTPase driving protrusion in carcinoma cells. These data describe a novel role for Rho in coordinating signaling by Rac and Cdc42.
Project description:Semaphorin molecules serve as axon guidance signals that regulate the navigation of neuronal growth cones. Semaphorins have also been implicated in other biological processes, including the immune response. Plexins, acting either alone or in complex with neuropilins, have recently been identified as functional semaphorin receptors. However, the mechanisms of signal transduction by plexins remain largely unknown. We have demonstrated a direct interaction between plexin-B1 and activated Rac. Rac specifically interacts with the cytosolic domain of plexin-B1, but not with that of plexin-A3 or -C1. Neither RhoA nor Cdc42 interacts with plexin-B1, indicating that the Rac/plexin-B1 interaction is highly specific. The binding of GTP and the integrity of the Rac effector domain are required for the interaction with plexin-B1. Furthermore, we have identified that a Cdc42/Rac interactive binding (CRIB) motif in the cytosolic domain of plexin-B1 is essential for its interaction with active Rac. We have also observed that the semaphorin CD100, a ligand for plexin-B1, stimulates the interaction between plexin-B1 and active Rac. Our results support a model by which activated Rac plays a role in mediating semaphorin signals, resulting in reorganization of actin cytoskeletal structure.
Project description:Rho family G proteins, including Rac and Cdc42, regulate a variety of cellular functions such as morphology, motility, and gene expression. We developed fluorescent resonance energy transfer-based probes which monitored the local balance between the activities of guanine nucleotide exchange factors and GTPase-activating proteins for Rac1 and Cdc42 at the membrane. These probes, named Raichu-Rac and Raichu-Cdc42, consisted of a Cdc42- and Rac-binding domain of Pak, Rac1 or Cdc42, a pair of green fluorescent protein mutants, and a CAAX box of Ki-Ras. With these probes, we video imaged the Rac and Cdc42 activities. In motile HT1080 cells, activities of both Rac and Cdc42 gradually increased toward the leading edge and decreased rapidly when cells changed direction. Under a higher magnification, we observed that Rac activity was highest immediately behind the leading edge, whereas Cdc42 activity was most prominent at the tip of the leading edge. Raichu-Rac and Raichu-Cdc42 were also applied to a rapid and simple assay for the analysis of putative guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) in living cells. Among six putative GEFs and GAPs, we identified KIAA0362/DBS as a GEF for Rac and Cdc42, KIAA1256 as a GEF for Cdc42, KIAA0053 as a GAP for Rac and Cdc42, and KIAA1204 as a GAP for Cdc42. In conclusion, use of these single-molecule probes to determine Rac and Cdc42 activity will accelerate the analysis of the spatiotemporal regulation of Rac and Cdc42 in a living cell.
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:The signaling pathways mediated by Rho family GTPases have been implicated in many aspects of cell biology. The specificity of the pathways is achieved in part by the selective interaction between Dbl family guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and their Rho GTPase substrates. Here, we report a first-generation small-molecule inhibitor of Rac GTPase targeting Rac activation by GEF. The chemical compound NSC23766 was identified by a structure-based virtual screening of compounds that fit into a surface groove of Rac1 known to be critical for GEF specification. In vitro it could effectively inhibit Rac1 binding and activation by the Rac-specific GEF Trio or Tiam1 in a dose-dependent manner without interfering with the closely related Cdc42 or RhoA binding or activation by their respective GEFs or with Rac1 interaction with BcrGAP or effector PAK1. In cells, it potently blocked serum or platelet-derived growth factor-induced Rac1 activation and lamellipodia formation without affecting the activity of endogenous Cdc42 or RhoA. Moreover, this compound reduced Trio or Tiam1 but not Vav, Lbc, Intersectin, or a constitutively active Rac1 mutant-stimulated cell growth and suppressed Trio, Tiam1, or Ras-induced cell transformation. When applied to human prostate cancer PC-3 cells, it was able to inhibit the proliferation, anchorage-independent growth and invasion phenotypes that require the endogenous Rac1 activity. Thus, NSC23766 constitutes a Rac-specific small-molecule inhibitor that could be useful to study the role of Rac in various cellular functions and to reverse tumor cell phenotypes associated with Rac deregulation.