• Actin assembly mechanisms at a glance.

      Rottner, Klemens; Faix, Jan; Bogdan, Sven; Linder, Stefan; Kerkhoff, Eugen; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-10-15)
      The actin cytoskeleton and associated motor proteins provide the driving forces for establishing the astonishing morphological diversity and dynamics of mammalian cells. Aside from functions in protruding and contracting cell membranes for motility, differentiation or cell division, the actin cytoskeleton provides forces to shape and move intracellular membranes of organelles and vesicles. To establish the many different actin assembly functions required in time and space, actin nucleators are targeted to specific subcellular compartments, thereby restricting the generation of specific actin filament structures to those sites. Recent research has revealed that targeting and activation of actin filament nucleators, elongators and myosin motors are tightly coordinated by conserved protein complexes to orchestrate force generation. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and the accompanying poster, we summarize and discuss the current knowledge on the corresponding protein complexes and their modes of action in actin nucleation, elongation and force generation.
    • Actin dynamics in cell migration

      Schaks, Matthias; Giannone, Grégory; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Portland Press Ltd., 2019-09-24)
      Cell migration is an essential process, both in unicellular organisms such as amoeba and as individual or collective motility in highly developed multicellular organisms like mammals. It is controlled by a variety of activities combining protrusive and contractile forces, normally generated by actin filaments. Here, we summarize actin filament assembly and turnover processes, and how respective biochemical activities translate into different protrusion types engaged in migration. These actin-based plasma membrane protrusions include actin-related protein 2/3 complex-dependent structures such as lamellipodia and membrane ruffles, filopodia as well as plasma membrane blebs. We also address observed antagonisms between these protrusion types, and propose a model – also inspired by previous literature – in which a complex balance between specific Rho GTPase signaling pathways dictates the protrusion mechanism employed by cells. Furthermore, we revisit published work regarding the fascinating antagonism between Rac and Rho GTPases, and how this intricate signaling network can define cell behavior and modes of migration. Finally, we discuss how the assembly of actin filament networks can feed back onto their regulators, as exemplified for the lamellipodial factor WAVE regulatory complex, tightly controlling accumulation of this complex at specific subcellular locations as well as its turnover.
    • Actin-binding protein cortactin promotes pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by supporting leukocyte infiltration into the central nervous system.

      Samus, Maryna; Li, Yu-Tung; Sorokin, Lydia; Rottner, Klemens; Vestweber, Dietmar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society for Neuroscience, 2020-01-06)
      Leukocyte entry into the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for immune surveillance, but is also the basis for the development of pathologic inflammatory conditions within the CNS such as multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The actin-binding protein, cortactin, in endothelial cells is an important player in regulating the interaction of immune cells with the vascular endothelium. Cortactin has been shown to control the integrity of the endothelial barrier and to support neutrophil transendothelial migration in vitro and in vivo in the skin. Here we employ cortactin gene inactivated (cortactin--/--) male and female mice to study the role of this protein in EAE. Inducing EAE by immunization with a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55) revealed an ameliorated disease course in cortactin--/-- female mice compared to WT mice. However, proliferation capacity and expression of IL-17A and IFNγ by cortactin-deficient and wildtype splenocytes did not differ, suggesting that the lack of cortactin does not affect induction of the immune response. Rather, cortactin deficiency caused decreased vascular permeability and reduced leukocyte infiltration into the brains and spinal cords of EAE mice. Accordingly, cortactin gene-deficient mice had smaller numbers of proinflammatory cuffs, less extensive demyelination and reduced expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines within the neural tissue compared to wildtype littermates. Thus, cortactin contributes to the development of neural inflammation by supporting leukocyte transmigration through the blood-brain barrier and, therefore, represents a potential candidate for targeting CNS autoimmunity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTMultiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neuroinflammatory disorder, based on the entry of inflammatory leukocytes into the central nervous system (CNS) where these cells cause demyelination and neurodegeneration. Here, we use a mouse model for MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and show that gene inactivation of cortactin, an actin binding protein that modulates actin dynamics and branching, protects against neuroinflammation in EAE. Leukocyte infiltration into the CNS was inhibited in cortactin deficient mice and lack of cortactin in cultured primary brain endothelial cells inhibited leukocyte transmigration. Expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the CNS and induction of vascular permeability were reduced. We conclude that cortactin represents a novel potential target for the treatment of MS.
    • The Arp2/3 complex is critical for colonisation of the mouse skin by melanoblasts.

      Papalazarou, Vassilis; Swaminathan, Karthic; Jaber-Hijazi, Farah; Spence, Heather; Lahmann, Ines; Nixon, Colin; Salmeron-Sanchez, Manuel; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Rottner, Klemens; Machesky, Laura M; et al. (Company of Biologists, 2020-10-07)
      The Arp2/3 complex is essential for the assembly of branched filamentous actin but its role in physiology and development is surprisingly little understood. Melanoblasts deriving from the neural crest migrate along the developing embryo and traverse the dermis to reach the epidermis colonising the skin and eventually homing within the hair follicles. We have previously established that Rac1 and Cdc42 direct melanoblast migration in vivo We hypothesised that the Arp2/3 complex might be the main downstream effector of these small GTPases. Arp3 depletion in the melanocyte lineage results in severe pigmentation defects in dorsal and ventral regions of the mouse skin. Arp3 null melanoblasts demonstrate proliferation and migration defects and fail to elongate as their wild-type counterparts. Conditional deletion of Arp3 in primary melanocytes causes improper proliferation, spreading, migration and adhesion to extracellular matrix. Collectively, our results suggest that the Arp2/3 complex is absolutely indispensable in the melanocyte lineage in mouse development, and indicate a significant role in developmental processes that require tight regulation of actin-mediated motility.
    • Assembling actin filaments for protrusion.

      Rottner, Klemens; Schaks, Matthias; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-29)
      Cell migration entails a plethora of activities combining the productive exertion of protrusive and contractile forces to allow cells to push and squeeze themselves through cell clumps, interstitial tissues or tissue borders. All these activities require the generation and turnover of actin filaments that arrange into specific, subcellular structures. The most prominent structures mediating the protrusion at the leading edges of cells include lamellipodia and filopodia as well as plasma membrane blebs. Moreover, in cells migrating on planar substratum, mechanical support is being provided by an additional, more proximally located structure termed the lamella. Here, we systematically dissect the literature concerning the mechanisms driving actin filament nucleation and elongation in the best-studied protrusive structure, the lamellipodium. Recent work has shed light on open questions in lamellipodium protrusion, including the relative contributions of nucleation versus elongation to the assembly of both individual filaments and the lamellipodial network as a whole. However, much remains to be learned concerning the specificity and relevance of individual factors, their cooperation and their site-specific functions relative to the importance of global actin monomer and filament homeostasis.
    • Coordination by Cdc42 of Actin, Contractility, and Adhesion for Melanoblast Movement in Mouse Skin.

      Woodham, Emma F; Paul, Nikki R; Tyrrell, Benjamin; Spence, Heather J; Swaminathan, Karthic; Scribner, Michelle R; Giampazolias, Evangelos; Hedley, Ann; Clark, William; Kage, Frieda; et al. (2017-03-06)
      The individual molecular pathways downstream of Cdc42, Rac, and Rho GTPases are well documented, but we know surprisingly little about how these pathways are coordinated when cells move in a complex environment in vivo. In the developing embryo, melanoblasts originating from the neural crest must traverse the dermis to reach the epidermis of the skin and hair follicles. We previously established that Rac1 signals via Scar/WAVE and Arp2/3 to effect pseudopod extension and migration of melanoblasts in skin. Here we show that RhoA is redundant in the melanocyte lineage but that Cdc42 coordinates multiple motility systems independent of Rac1. Similar to Rac1 knockouts, Cdc42 null mice displayed a severe loss of pigmentation, and melanoblasts showed cell-cycle progression, migration, and cytokinesis defects. However, unlike Rac1 knockouts, Cdc42 null melanoblasts were elongated and displayed large, bulky pseudopods with dynamic actin bursts. Despite assuming an elongated shape usually associated with fast mesenchymal motility, Cdc42 knockout melanoblasts migrated slowly and inefficiently in the epidermis, with nearly static pseudopods. Although much of the basic actin machinery was intact, Cdc42 null cells lacked the ability to polarize their Golgi and coordinate motility systems for efficient movement. Loss of Cdc42 de-coupled three main systems: actin assembly via the formin FMNL2 and Arp2/3, active myosin-II localization, and integrin-based adhesion dynamics.
    • Distinct Interaction Sites of Rac GTPase with WAVE Regulatory Complex Have Non-redundant Functions in Vivo.

      Schaks, Matthias; Singh, Shashi P; Kage, Frieda; Thomason, Peter; Klünemann, Thomas; Steffen, Anika; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Stradal, Theresia E; Insall, Robert H; Rottner, Klemens; et al. (2018-10-25)
      Cell migration often involves the formation of sheet-like lamellipodia generated by branched actin filaments. The branches are initiated when Arp2/3 complex [1] is activated by WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) downstream of small GTPases of the Rac family [2]. Recent structural studies defined two independent Rac binding sites on WRC within the Sra-1/PIR121 subunit of the pentameric WRC [3, 4], but the functions of these sites in vivo have remained unknown. Here we dissect the mechanism of WRC activation and the in vivo relevance of distinct Rac binding sites on Sra-1, using CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene disruption of Sra-1 and its paralog PIR121 in murine B16-F1 cells combined with Sra-1 mutant rescue. We show that the A site, positioned adjacent to the binding region of WAVE-WCA mediating actin and Arp2/3 complex binding, is the main site for allosteric activation of WRC. In contrast, the D site toward the C terminus is dispensable for WRC activation but required for optimal lamellipodium morphology and function. These results were confirmed in evolutionarily distant Dictyostelium cells. Moreover, the phenotype seen in D site mutants was recapitulated in Rac1 E31 and F37 mutants; we conclude these residues are important for Rac-D site interaction. Finally, constitutively activated WRC was able to induce lamellipodia even after both Rac interaction sites were lost, showing that Rac interaction is not essential for membrane recruitment. Our data establish that physical interaction with Rac is required for WRC activation, in particular through the A site, but is not mandatory for WRC accumulation in the lamellipodium.
    • Diverse functions of myosin VI elucidated by an isoform-specific α-helix domain.

      Wollscheid, Hans-Peter; Biancospino, Matteo; He, Fahu; Magistrati, Elisa; Molteni, Erika; Lupia, Michela; Soffientini, Paolo; Rottner, Klemens; Cavallaro, Ugo; Pozzoli, Uberto; et al. (2016-04)
      Myosin VI functions in endocytosis and cell motility. Alternative splicing of myosin VI mRNA generates two distinct isoform types, myosin VI(short) and myosin VI(long), which differ in the C-terminal region. Their physiological and pathological roles remain unknown. Here we identified an isoform-specific regulatory helix, named the α2-linker, that defines specific conformations and hence determines the target selectivity of human myosin VI. The presence of the α2-linker structurally defines a new clathrin-binding domain that is unique to myosin VI(long) and masks the known RRL interaction motif. This finding is relevant to ovarian cancer, in which alternative myosin VI splicing is aberrantly regulated, and exon skipping dictates cell addiction to myosin VI(short) in tumor-cell migration. The RRL interactor optineurin contributes to this process by selectively binding myosin VI(short). Thus, the α2-linker acts like a molecular switch that assigns myosin VI to distinct endocytic (myosin VI(long)) or migratory (myosin VI(short)) functional roles.
    • Diversely Functionalised Cytochalasins through Mutasynthesis and Semi-Synthesis.

      Wang, Chongqing; Lambert, Christopher; Hauser, Maurice; Deuschmann, Adrian; Zeilinger, Carsten; Rottner, Klemens; Stradal, Theresia E B; Stadler, Marc; Skellam, Elizabeth J; Cox, Russell J; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-06-02)
      Mutasynthesis of pyrichalasin H from Magnaporthe grisea NI980 yielded a series of unprecedented 4'-substituted cytochalasin analogues in titres as high as the wild-type system (≈60 mg L-1 ). Halogenated, O-alkyl, O-allyl and O-propargyl examples were formed, as well as a 4'-azido analogue. 4'-O-Propargyl and 4'-azido analogues reacted smoothly in Huisgen cycloaddition reactions, whereas p-Br and p-I compounds reacted in Pd-catalysed cross-coupling reactions. A series of examples of biotin-linked, dye-linked and dimeric cytochalasins was rapidly created. In vitro and in vivo bioassays of these compounds showed that the 4'-halogenated and azido derivatives retained their cytotoxicity and antifungal activities; but a unique 4'-amino analogue was inactive. Attachment of larger substituents attenuated the bioactivities. In vivo actin-binding studies with adherent mammalian cells showed that actin remains the likely intracellular target. Dye-linked compounds revealed visualisation of intracellular actin structures even in the absence of phalloidin, thus constituting a potential new class of actin-visualisation tools with filament-barbed end-binding specificity.
    • Diversified actin protrusions promote environmental exploration but are dispensable for locomotion of leukocytes.

      Leithner, Alexander; Eichner, Alexander; Müller, Jan; Reversat, Anne; Brown, Markus; Schwarz, Jan; Merrin, Jack; de Gorter, David J J; Schur, Florian; Bayerl, Jonathan; et al. (2016-11)
      Most migrating cells extrude their front by the force of actin polymerization. Polymerization requires an initial nucleation step, which is mediated by factors establishing either parallel filaments in the case of filopodia or branched filaments that form the branched lamellipodial network. Branches are considered essential for regular cell motility and are initiated by the Arp2/3 complex, which in turn is activated by nucleation-promoting factors of the WASP and WAVE families. Here we employed rapid amoeboid crawling leukocytes and found that deletion of the WAVE complex eliminated actin branching and thus lamellipodia formation. The cells were left with parallel filaments at the leading edge, which translated, depending on the differentiation status of the cell, into a unipolar pointed cell shape or cells with multiple filopodia. Remarkably, unipolar cells migrated with increased speed and enormous directional persistence, while they were unable to turn towards chemotactic gradients. Cells with multiple filopodia retained chemotactic activity but their migration was progressively impaired with increasing geometrical complexity of the extracellular environment. These findings establish that diversified leading edge protrusions serve as explorative structures while they slow down actual locomotion.
    • Early cell death induced by Clostridium difficile TcdB: Uptake and Rac1-glucosylation kinetics are decisive for cell fate.

      Beer, Lara-Antonia; Tatge, Helma; Reich, Nicole; Tenspolde, Michel; Olling, Alexandra; Goy, Sebastian; Rottner, Klemens; Alekov, Alexi Kirilov; Gerhard, Ralf; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-06-14)
      Toxin A and Toxin B (TcdA/TcdB) are large glucosyltransferases produced by Clostridium difficile. TcdB but not TcdA induces reactive oxygen species-mediated early cell death (ECD) when applied at high concentrations. We found that nonglucosylated Rac1 is essential for induction of ECD since inhibition of Rac1 impedes this effect. ECD only occurs when TcdB is rapidly endocytosed. This was shown by generation of chimeras using the trunk of TcdB from a hypervirulent strain. TcdB from hypervirulent strain has been described to translocate from endosomes at higher pH values and thus, meaning faster than reference type TcdB. Accordingly, intracellular delivery of the glucosyltransferase domain of reference TcdB by the trunk of TcdB from hypervirulent strain increased ECD. Furthermore, proton transporters such as sodium/proton exchanger (NHE) or the ClC-5 anion/proton exchanger, both of which contribute to endosomal acidification, also affected cytotoxic potency of TcdB: Specific inhibition of NHE reduced cytotoxicity, whereas transfection of cells with the endosomal anion/proton exchanger ClC-5 increased cytotoxicity of TcdB. Our data suggest that both the uptake rate of TcdB into the cytosol and the status of nonglucosylated Rac1 are key determinants that are decisive for whether ECD or delayed apoptosis is triggered.
    • EPLIN-α and -β Isoforms Modulate Endothelial Cell Dynamics through a Spatiotemporally Differentiated Interaction with Actin.

      Taha, Muna; Aldirawi, Mohammed; März, Sigrid; Seebach, Jochen; Odenthal-Schnittler, Maria; Bondareva, Olga; Bojovic, Vesna; Schmandra, Thomas; Wirth, Benedikt; Mietkowska, Magdalena; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-10-22)
      Actin-binding proteins are essential for linear and branched actin filament dynamics that control shape change, cell migration, and cell junction remodeling in vascular endothelium (endothelial cells [ECs]). The epithelial protein lost in neoplasm (EPLIN) is an actin-binding protein, expressed as EPLIN-α and EPLIN-β by alternative promoters; however, the isoform-specific functions are not yet understood. Aortic compared to cava vein ECs and shear stress-exposed cultured ECs express increased EPLIN-β levels that stabilize stress fibers. In contrast, EPLIN-α expression is increased in growing and migrating ECs, is targeted to membrane protrusions, and terminates their growth via interaction with the Arp2/3 complex. The data indicate that EPLIN-α controls protrusion dynamics while EPLIN-β has an actin filament stabilizing role, which is consistent with FRAP analyses demonstrating a lower EPLIN-β turnover rate compared to EPLIN-α. Together, EPLIN isoforms differentially control actin dynamics in ECs, essential in shear stress responses, cell migration, and barrier function.
    • FMNL formins boost lamellipodial force generation.

      Kage, Frieda; Winterhoff, Moritz; Dimchev, Vanessa; Mueller, Jan; Thalheim, Tobias; Freise, Anika; Brühmann, Stefan; Kollasser, Jana; Block, Jennifer; Dimchev, Georgi; et al. (2017-03-22)
      Migration frequently involves Rac-mediated protrusion of lamellipodia, formed by Arp2/3 complex-dependent branching thought to be crucial for force generation and stability of these networks. The formins FMNL2 and FMNL3 are Cdc42 effectors targeting to the lamellipodium tip and shown here to nucleate and elongate actin filaments with complementary activities in vitro. In migrating B16-F1 melanoma cells, both formins contribute to the velocity of lamellipodium protrusion. Loss of FMNL2/3 function in melanoma cells and fibroblasts reduces lamellipodial width, actin filament density and -bundling, without changing patterns of Arp2/3 complex incorporation. Strikingly, in melanoma cells, FMNL2/3 gene inactivation almost completely abolishes protrusion forces exerted by lamellipodia and modifies their ultrastructural organization. Consistently, CRISPR/Cas-mediated depletion of FMNL2/3 in fibroblasts reduces both migration and capability of cells to move against viscous media. Together, we conclude that force generation in lamellipodia strongly depends on FMNL formin activity, operating in addition to Arp2/3 complex-dependent filament branching.
    • FMNL2 and -3 regulate Golgi architecture and anterograde transport downstream of Cdc42.

      Kage, Frieda; Steffen, Anika; Ellinger, Adolf; Ranftler, Carmen; Gehre, Christian; Brakebusch, Cord; Pavelka, Margit; Stradal, Theresia; Rottner, Klemens; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-29)
      The Rho-family small GTPase Cdc42 localizes at plasma membrane and Golgi complex and aside from protrusion and migration operates in vesicle trafficking, endo- and exocytosis as well as establishment and/or maintenance of cell polarity. The formin family members FMNL2 and -3 are actin assembly factors established to regulate cell edge protrusion during migration and invasion. Here we report these formins to additionally accumulate and function at the Golgi apparatus. As opposed to lamellipodia, Golgi targeting of these proteins required both their N-terminal myristoylation and the interaction with Cdc42. Moreover, Golgi association of FMNL2 or -3 induced a phalloidin-detectable actin meshwork around the Golgi. Importantly, functional interference with FMNL2/3 formins by RNAi or CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene deletion invariably induced Golgi fragmentation in different cell lines. Furthermore, absence of these proteins led to enlargement of endosomes as well as defective maturation and/or sorting into late endosomes and lysosomes. In line with Cdc42 - recently established to regulate anterograde transport through the Golgi by cargo sorting and carrier formation - FMNL2/3 depletion also affected anterograde trafficking of VSV-G from the Golgi to the plasma membrane. Our data thus link FMNL2/3 formins to actin assembly-dependent functions of Cdc42 in anterograde transport through the Golgi apparatus.
    • A Genome-Wide siRNA Screen Implicates Spire1/2 in SipA-Driven Salmonella Typhimurium Host Cell Invasion.

      Andritschke, Daniel; Dilling, Sabrina; Emmenlauer, Mario; Welz, Tobias; Schmich, Fabian; Misselwitz, Benjamin; Rämö, Pauli; Rottner, Klemens; Kerkhoff, Eugen; Wada, Teiji; et al. (2016)
      Salmonella Typhimurium (S. Tm) is a leading cause of diarrhea. The disease is triggered by pathogen invasion into the gut epithelium. Invasion is attributed to the SPI-1 type 3 secretion system (T1). T1 injects effector proteins into epithelial cells and thereby elicits rearrangements of the host cellular actin cytoskeleton and pathogen invasion. The T1 effector proteins SopE, SopB, SopE2 and SipA are contributing to this. However, the host cell factors contributing to invasion are still not completely understood. To address this question comprehensively, we used Hela tissue culture cells, a genome-wide siRNA library, a modified gentamicin protection assay and S. TmSipA, a sopBsopE2sopE mutant which strongly relies on the T1 effector protein SipA to invade host cells. We found that S. TmSipA invasion does not elicit membrane ruffles, nor promote the entry of non-invasive bacteria "in trans". However, SipA-mediated infection involved the SPIRE family of actin nucleators, besides well-established host cell factors (WRC, ARP2/3, RhoGTPases, COPI). Stage-specific follow-up assays and knockout fibroblasts indicated that SPIRE1 and SPIRE2 are involved in different steps of the S. Tm infection process. Whereas SPIRE1 interferes with bacterial binding, SPIRE2 influences intracellular replication of S. Tm. Hence, these two proteins might fulfill non-redundant functions in the pathogen-host interaction. The lack of co-localization hints to a short, direct interaction between S. Tm and SPIRE proteins or to an indirect effect.
    • High cortactin expression in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is associated with increased transendothelial migration and bone marrow relapse.

      Velázquez-Avila, Martha; Balandrán, Juan Carlos; Ramírez-Ramírez, Dalia; Velázquez-Avila, Mirella; Sandoval, Antonio; Felipe-López, Alfonso; Nava, Porfirio; Alvarado-Moreno, José Antonio; Dozal, David; Prieto-Chávez, Jessica L; et al. (Nature publishing group, 2018-12-20)
      Cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, with B-lineage cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) being the most frequent childhood malignancy. Relapse, treatment failure and organ infiltration worsen the prognosis, warranting a better understanding of the implicated mechanisms. Cortactin is an actin-binding protein involved in cell adhesion and migration that is overexpressed in many solid tumors and in adult B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Here, we investigated cortactin expression and potential impact on infiltration and disease prognosis in childhood B-ALL. B-ALL cell lines and precursor cells from bone marrow (BM) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of B-ALL patients indeed overexpressed cortactin. In CXCL12-induced transendothelial migration assays, transmigrated B-ALL cells had highest cortactin expression. In xenotransplantation models, only cortactin
    • Kindlin-2 recruits paxillin and Arp2/3 to promote membrane protrusions during initial cell spreading.

      Böttcher, Ralph T; Veelders, Maik; Rombaut, Pascaline; Faix, Jan; Theodosiou, Marina; Stradal, Theresia E B; Rottner, Klemens; Zent, Roy; Herzog, Franz; Fässler, Reinhard; et al. (2017-09-14)
      Cell spreading requires the coupling of actin-driven membrane protrusion and integrin-mediated adhesion to the extracellular matrix. The integrin-activating adaptor protein kindlin-2 plays a central role for cell adhesion and membrane protrusion by directly binding and recruiting paxillin to nascent adhesions. Here, we report that kindlin-2 has a dual role during initial cell spreading: it binds paxillin via the pleckstrin homology and F0 domains to activate Rac1, and it directly associates with the Arp2/3 complex to induce Rac1-mediated membrane protrusions. Consistently, abrogation of kindlin-2 binding to Arp2/3 impairs lamellipodia formation and cell spreading. Our findings identify kindlin-2 as a key protein that couples cell adhesion by activating integrins and the induction of membrane protrusions by activating Rac1 and supplying Rac1 with the Arp2/3 complex.
    • Loss of cortactin causes endothelial barrier dysfunction via disturbed adrenomedullin secretion and actomyosin contractility.

      García Ponce, Alexander; Citalán Madrid, Alí F; Vargas Robles, Hilda; Chánez Paredes, Sandra; Nava, Porfirio; Betanzos, Abigail; Zarbock, Alexander; Rottner, Klemens; Vestweber, Dietmar; Schnoor, Michael; et al. (2016)
      Changes in vascular permeability occur during inflammation and the actin cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in regulating endothelial cell contacts and permeability. We demonstrated recently that the actin-binding protein cortactin regulates vascular permeability via Rap1. However, it is unknown if the actin cytoskeleton contributes to increased vascular permeability without cortactin. As we consistently observed more actin fibres in cortactin-depleted endothelial cells, we hypothesised that cortactin depletion results in increased stress fibre contractility and endothelial barrier destabilisation. Analysing the contractile machinery, we found increased ROCK1 protein levels in cortactin-depleted endothelium. Concomitantly, myosin light chain phosphorylation was increased while cofilin, mDia and ERM were unaffected. Secretion of the barrier-stabilising hormone adrenomedullin, which activates Rap1 and counteracts actomyosin contractility, was reduced in plasma from cortactin-deficient mice and in supernatants of cortactin-depleted endothelium. Importantly, adrenomedullin administration and ROCK1 inhibition reduced actomyosin contractility and rescued the effect on permeability provoked by cortactin deficiency in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest a new role for cortactin in controlling actomyosin contractility with consequences for endothelial barrier integrity.
    • Loss of Ena/VASP interferes with lamellipodium architecture, motility and integrin-dependent adhesion.

      Damiano-Guercio, Julia; Kurzawa, Laëtitia; Mueller, Jan; Dimchev, Georgi; Schaks, Matthias; Nemethova, Maria; Pokrant, Thomas; Brühmann, Stefan; Linkner, Joern; Blanchoin, Laurent; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2020-05-11)
      Cell migration entails networks and bundles of actin filaments termed lamellipodia and microspikes or filopodia, respectively, as well as focal adhesions, all of which recruit Ena/VASP family members hitherto thought to antagonize efficient cell motility. However, we find these proteins to act as positive regulators of migration in different murine cell lines. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated loss of Ena/VASP proteins reduced lamellipodial actin assembly and perturbed lamellipodial architecture, as evidenced by changed network geometry as well as reduction of filament length and number that was accompanied by abnormal Arp2/3 complex and heterodimeric capping protein accumulation. Loss of Ena/VASP function also abolished the formation of microspikes normally embedded in lamellipodia, but not of filopodia capable of emanating without lamellipodia. Ena/VASP-deficiency also impaired integrin-mediated adhesion accompanied by reduced traction forces exerted through these structures. Our data thus uncover novel Ena/VASP functions of these actin polymerases that are fully consistent with their promotion of cell migration.
    • Molecular Dissection of Neurodevelopmental Disorder-Causing Mutations in CYFIP2.

      Schaks, Matthias; Reinke, Michael; Witke, Walter; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-05-29)
      Actin remodeling is frequently regulated by antagonistic activities driving protrusion and contraction downstream of Rac and Rho small GTPases, respectively. WAVE regulatory complex (WRC), which primarily operates downstream of Rac, plays pivotal roles in neuronal morphogenesis. Recently, two independent studies described de novo mutations in the CYFIP2 subunit of WRC, which caused intellectual disability (ID) in humans. Although mutations had been proposed to effect WRC activation, no experimental evidence for this was provided. Here, we made use of CRISPR/Cas9-engineered B16-F1 cell lines that were reconstituted with ID-causing CYFIP variants in different experimental contexts. Almost all CYFIP2-derived mutations (7 out of 8) promoted WRC activation, but to variable extent and with at least two independent mechanisms. The majority of mutations occurs in a conserved WAVE-binding region, required for WRC transinhibition. One mutation is positioned closely adjacent to the Rac-binding A site and appears to ease Rac-mediated WRC activation. As opposed to these gain-of-function mutations, a truncating mutant represented a loss-of-function variant and failed to interact with WRC components. Collectively, our data show that explored CYFIP2 mutations frequently, but not always, coincide with WRC activation and suggest that normal brain development requires a delicate and precisely tuned balance of neuronal WRC activity.