Formins are actin polymerization factors that elongate unbranched actin filaments at the barbed end. Rho family GTPases activate Diaphanous-related formins through the relief of an autoregulatory interaction. The crystal structures of the N-terminal domains of human FMNL1 and FMNL2 in complex with active Cdc42 show that Cdc42 mediates contacts with all five armadillo repeats of the formin with specific interactions formed by the Rho-GTPase insert helix. Mutation of three residues within Rac1 results in a gain-of-function mutation for FMNL2 binding and reconstitution of the Cdc42 phenotype in vivo. Dimerization of FMNL1 through a parallel coiled coil segment leads to formation of an umbrella-shaped structure that—together with Cdc42—spans more than 15 nm in diameter. The two interacting FMNL-Cdc42 heterodimers expose six membrane interaction motifs on a convex protein surface, the assembly of which may facilitate actin filament elongation at the leading edge of lamellipodia and filopodia.
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.
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
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are suggested to be important
progenitors of myofibroblasts in fibrosis. To understand the
role of Rho GTPase signaling in TGF -induced myofibroblast
differentiation of MSC, we generated a novel MSC line and its
descendants lacking functional Rho GTPases and Rho GTPase
signaling components. Unexpectedly, our data revealed that
Rho GTPase signaling is required for TGF -induced expression
of -smooth muscle actin (SMA) but not of collagen I 1
(col1a1). Whereas loss of RhoA and Cdc42 reduced SMA
expression, ablation of the Rac1 gene had the opposite effect.
Although actin polymerization and MRTFa were crucial for
TGF -induced SMA expression, neither Arp2/3-dependent
actinpolymerizationnorcofilin-dependent severinganddepolymerization of F-actin were required. Instead, F-actin levels were
dependent on cell contraction, and TGF -induced actin polymerization correlated with increased cell contraction mediated by
RhoA and Cdc42. Finally, we observed impaired collagen I secretion in MSC lacking RhoA or Cdc42. These data give novel molecular insights into the role of Rho GTPases in TGF signaling and
have implications for our understanding of MSC function in
Autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg) 1 and Dsg3 primarily cause blister formation in the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). Src was proposed to contribute to loss of keratinocyte cohesion. However, the role and underlying mechanisms are unclear and were studied here. In keratinocytes, cell cohesion in response to autoantibodies was reduced in Src-dependent manner by two patient-derived PV-IgG fractions as well as by AK23 but not by a third PV-IgG fraction, although Src was activated by all autoantibodies. Loss of cell cohesion was progredient in a timeframe of 24 h and AK23, similar to PV-IgG, interfered with reconstitution of cell cohesion after Ca2+-switch, indicating that the autoantibodies also interfered with desmosome assembly. Dsg3 co-localized along cell contacts and interacted with the Src substrate cortactin. In keratinocytes isolated from cortactin-deficient mice, cell adhesion was impaired and Src-mediated inhibition of AK23-induced loss of cell cohesion for 24 h was significantly reduced compared to wild-type (wt) cells. Similarly, AK23 impaired reconstitution of cell adhesion was Src-dependent only in the presence of cortactin. Likewise, Src inhibition significantly reduced AK23-induced skin blistering in wt but not cortactin-deficient mice. These data suggest that the Src-mediated long-term effects of AK23 on loss of cell cohesion and skin blistering are dependent on cortactin-mediated desmosome assembly. However, in human epidermis PV-IgG-induced skin blistering and ultrastructural alterations of desmosomes were not affected by Src inhibition, indicating that Src may not be critical for skin blistering in intact human skin, at least when high levels of autoantibodies targeting Dsg1 are present.
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.
Cell migration often involves the formation of sheet-like lamellipodia generated by branched actin filaments. The branches are initiated when Arp2/3 complex  is activated by WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) downstream of small GTPases of the Rac family . 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.
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.
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.
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.
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