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Ras activation and symmetry breaking during Dictyostelium chemotaxis

Kortholt, A., Keizer-Gunnink, I., Kataria, R. & Van Haastert, P. J. M., 1-Oct-2013, In : Journal of Cell Science. 126, 19, p. 4502-4513 12 p.

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Central to chemotaxis is the molecular mechanism by which a shallow spatial gradient of chemoattractant induces symmetry breaking of activated signaling molecules. Previously, we have used Dictyostelium mutants to investigate the minimal requirements for chemotaxis, and identified a basal signaling module providing activation of Ras and F-actin at the leading edge. Here, we show that Ras activation after application of a pipette releasing the chemoattractant cAMP has three phases, each depending on specific guanine-nucleotide-exchange factors (GEFs). Initially a transient activation of Ras occurs at the entire cell boundary, which is proportional to the local cAMP concentrations and therefore slightly stronger at the front than in the rear of the cell. This transient Ras activation is present in g alpha 2 (gpbB)-null cells but not in g beta (gpbA)-null cells, suggesting that G beta gamma mediates the initial activation of Ras. The second phase is symmetry breaking: Ras is activated only at the side of the cell closest to the pipette. Symmetry breaking absolutely requires G alpha 2 and G beta gamma, but not the cytoskeleton or four cAMP-induced signaling pathways, those dependent on phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-triphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P-3], cGMP, TorC2 and PLA2. As cells move in the gradient, the crescent of activated Ras in the front half of the cell becomes confined to a small area at the utmost front of the cell. Confinement of Ras activation leads to cell polarization, and depends on cGMP formation, myosin and F-actin. The experiments show that activation, symmetry breaking and confinement of Ras during Dictyostelium chemotaxis uses different G-protein subunits and a multitude of Ras GEFs and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4502-4513
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Volume126
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1-Oct-2013

    Keywords

  • Chemotaxis, Shallow gradients, Ras, Amplification, Synergy, Symmetry breaking, DIRECTED CELL-MIGRATION, ALPHA PROTEIN SUBUNITS, SIGNAL-TRANSDUCTION, MYOSIN-II, CHEMOATTRACTANT GRADIENTS, MULTICELLULAR DEVELOPMENT, SPATIOTEMPORAL REGULATION, EXCHANGE FACTOR, LIVING CELLS, MOTILITY

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