Diaphanous-related formin, mDia, is an actin nucleation/polymerization factor functioning downstream of the small GTPase Rho. We found that, in addition to the Rho GTPase-mediated activation, the interaction between mDia2 and anillin is required for the localization and function of mDia2 in cytokinesis.
Diaphanous-related formin, mDia, is an actin nucleation/polymerization factor functioning downstream of the small GTPase Rho. Although Rho is critically involved in cytokinesis, it remains elusive how Rho effectors and other regulators of cytoskeletons work together to accomplish this process. Here we focused on mDia2, an mDia isoform involved in cytokinesis of NIH 3T3 cells, and analyzed mechanisms of its localization in cytokinesis. We found that targeting of mDia2 to the cleavage furrow requires not only its binding to RhoA but also its diaphanous-inhibitory domain (DID). We then performed pulldown assays using a fragment containing the latter domain as a bait and identified anillin as a novel mDia2 interaction partner. The anillin-binding is competitive with the diaphanous autoregulatory domain (DAD) of mDia2 in its autoinhibitory interaction. A series of RNA interference and functional rescue experiments has revealed that, in addition to the Rho GTPase-mediated activation, the interaction between mDia2 and anillin is required for the localization and function of mDia2 in cytokinesis.
mDia proteins are members of the formin family of actin nucleating proteins that polymerize linear actin filaments. Such filaments form the core of thin, tubular, membrane-bound cell surface protrusions known as filopodia, which are a major feature of mammalian cell morphology. Filopodia are dynamic structures that help cells sense environmental cues, and play a role in cell migration, axon guidance, angiogenesis and other processes. RhoGTPases bind to and control the activity of mDia proteins, and several other binding partners of the three mDia1 isoforms—mDia1, mDia2 and mDia3—have been documented. Two independent pathways controlling mammalian filopodium formation have emerged, with one driven by the RhoGTPase Cdc42, and the other by Rif. While mDia2 has been the main formin implicated in forming filopodia, mDia1 has recently surfaced as the key formin utilized by both the Cdc42 and Rif pathways to drive filopodial protrusion.
formins; mDia; Rho GTPases; filopodia; actin; cell morphology
Eukaryotic cells dynamically reorganize the actin cytoskeleton to regulate various cellular activities, such as cell shape change, cell motility, cytokinesis, and vesicular transport. Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs), such as Daam1 and mDia1, play central roles in actin dynamics through assembling linear actin filaments. It has been reported that the GTP-bound active Rho binds directly to DRFs and partially unleashes the intramolecular autoinhibition of DRFs. However, whether proteins other than Rho involve the regulation of the actin assembly activity of DRFs has been unclear. Here, we show that Flightless-I (Fli-I), a gelsolin family protein essential for early development, binds directly to Daam1 and mDia1. Fli-I enhances the intrinsic actin assembly activity of Daam1 and mDia1 in vitro and is required for Daam1-induced actin assembly in living cells. Furthermore, Fli-I promotes the GTP-bound active Rho-mediated relief of the autoinhibition of Daam1 and mDia1. Thus, Fli-I is a novel positive regulator of Rho-induced linear actin assembly mediated by DRFs.
Cytoskeleton/Actin; G Proteins/Low Molecular Weight; Signal Transduction/G-proteins; Subcellular Organelles/Cytoskeleton; Rho; Cell Shape; Cytoskeletal Reorganization; Formin
The small GTPase Rho regulates cell morphogenesis through remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. While Rho is overexpressed in many clinical cancers, the role of Rho signaling in oncogenesis remains unknown. mDia1 is a Rho effector producing straight actin filaments. Here we transduced mouse embryonic fibroblasts from mDia1-deficient mice with temperature-sensitive v-Src and examined the involvement and mechanism of the Rho-mDia1 pathway in Src-induced oncogenesis. We showed that in v-Src-transduced mDia1-deficient cells, formation of actin filaments is suppressed, and v-Src in the perinuclear region does not move to focal adhesions upon a temperature shift. Consequently, membrane translocation of v-Src, v-Src-induced morphological transformation, and podosome formation are all suppressed in mDia1-deficient cells with impaired tyrosine phosphorylation. mDia1-deficient cells show reduced transformation in vitro as examined by focus formation and colony formation in soft agar and exhibit suppressed tumorigenesis and invasion when implanted in nude mice in vivo. Given overexpression of c-Src in various cancers, these findings suggest that Rho-mDia1 signaling facilitates malignant transformation and invasion by manipulating the actin cytoskeleton and targeting Src to the cell periphery.
Directed cell migration requires cell polarization and adhesion turnover, in which the actin cytoskeleton and microtubules work critically. The Rho GTPases induce specific types of actin cytoskeleton and regulate microtubule dynamics. In migrating cells, Cdc42 regulates cell polarity and Rac works in membrane protrusion. However, the role of Rho in migration is little known. Rho acts on two major effectors, ROCK and mDia1, among which mDia1 produces straight actin filaments and aligns microtubules. Here we depleted mDia1 by RNA interference and found that mDia1 depletion impaired directed migration of rat C6 glioma cells by inhibiting both cell polarization and adhesion turnover. Apc and active Cdc42, which work together for cell polarization, localized in the front of migrating cells, while active c-Src, which regulates adhesion turnover, localized in focal adhesions. mDia1 depletion impaired localization of these molecules at their respective sites. Conversely, expression of active mDia1 facilitated microtubule-dependent accumulation of Apc and active Cdc42 in the polar ends of the cells and actin-dependent recruitment of c-Src in adhesions. Thus, the Rho-mDia1 pathway regulates polarization and adhesion turnover by aligning microtubules and actin filaments and delivering Apc/Cdc42 and c-Src to their respective sites of action.
Actin-capping protein induced stable microtubules in an mDia1-dependent manner and inhibited the translocation of mDia on the ends of growing actin filaments. Knockdown of capping protein by small interfering RNA reduced stable microtubule levels in proliferating cells and in starved cells stimulated with lysophosphatidic acid.
In migrating fibroblasts, RhoA and its effector mDia1 regulate the selective stabilization of microtubules (MTs) polarized in the direction of migration. The conserved formin homology 2 domain of mDia1 is involved both in actin polymerization and MT stabilization, and the relationship between these two activities is unknown. We found that latrunculin A (LatA) and jasplakinolide, actin drugs that release mDia1 from actin filament barbed ends, stimulated stable MT formation in serum-starved fibroblasts and caused a redistribution of mDia1 onto MTs. Knockdown of mDia1 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) prevented stable MT induction by LatA, whereas blocking upstream Rho or integrin signaling had no effect. In search of physiological regulators of mDia1, we found that actin-capping protein induced stable MTs in an mDia1-dependent manner and inhibited the translocation of mDia on the ends of growing actin filaments. Knockdown of capping protein by siRNA reduced stable MT levels in proliferating cells and in starved cells stimulated with lysophosphatidic acid. These results show that actin-capping protein is a novel regulator of MT stability that functions by antagonizing mDia1 activity toward actin filaments and suggest a novel form of actin–MT cross-talk in which a single factor acts sequentially on actin and MTs.
We investigated the poorly understood mechanism of plasma membrane targeting of formin mDia2 and found that its N terminus plays important roles in this process by binding acidic phospholipids through its N-terminal basic domain and by binding small GTPase Rif through direct interaction with the GTPase binding region and the diaphanous inhibitory domain.
The formin mDia2 mediates the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia during cell locomotion. The subcellular localization of activated mDia2 depends on interactions with actin filaments and the plasma membrane. We investigated the poorly understood mechanism of plasma membrane targeting of mDia2 and found that the entire N-terminal region of mDia2 preceding the actin-polymerizing formin homology domains 1 and 2 (FH1–FH2) module was potently targeted to the membrane. This localization was enhanced by Rif, but not by other tested small GTPases, and depended on a positively charged N-terminal basic domain (BD). The BD bound acidic phospholipids in vitro, suggesting that in vivo it may associate with the plasma membrane through electrostatic interactions. Unexpectedly, a fragment consisting of the GTPase-binding region and the diaphanous inhibitory domain (G-DID), thought to mediate the interaction with GTPases, was not targeted to the plasma membrane even in the presence of constitutively active Rif. Addition of the BD or dimerization/coiled coil domains to G-DID rescued plasma membrane targeting in cells. Direct binding of Rif to mDia2 N terminus required the presence of both G and DID. These results suggest that the entire N terminus of mDia2 serves as a coincidence detection module, directing mDia2 to the plasma membrane through interactions with phospholipids and activated Rif.
SRF-dependent transcription is regulated by the small GTPase RhoA via its effects on actin dynamics. The diaphanous-related formin (DRF) proteins have been identified as candidate RhoA effectors mediating signaling to SRF. Here we investigate the relationship between SRF activation and actin polymerization by the DRF mDia1. We show that the ability of mDia1 to potentiate SRF activity is strictly correlated with its ability to promote F-actin assembly. Both processes can occur independently of the mDia1 FH1 domain but require sequences in an extended C-terminal region encompassing the conserved FH2 domain. mDia-mediated SRF activation, but not F-actin assembly, can be blocked by a nonpolymerizable actin mutant, placing actin downstream of mDia in the signal pathway. The SRF activation assay was used to identify inactive mDia1 derivatives that inhibit serum- and LPA-induced signaling to SRF. We show that these interfering mutants also block F-actin assembly, whether induced by mDia proteins or extracellular signals. These results identify novel functional elements of mDia1 and show that it regulates SRF activity by inducing depletion of the cellular pool of G-actin.
A critical microtubule (MT) polarization event in cell migration is the Rho/mDia-dependent stabilization of a subset of MTs oriented toward the direction of migration. Although mDia nucleates actin filaments, it is unclear whether this or a separate activity of mDia underlies MT stabilization. We generated two actin mutants (K853A and I704A) in a constitutively active version of mDia2 containing formin homology domains 1 and 2 (FH1FH2) and found that they still induced stable MTs and bound to the MT TIP proteins EB1 and APC, which have also been implicated in MT stabilization. A dimerization-impaired mutant of mDia2 (W630A) also generated stable MTs in cells. We examined whether FH1FH2mDia2 had direct activity on MTs in vitro and found that it bound directly to MTs, stabilized MTs against cold- and dilution-induced disassembly, and reduced the rates of growth and shortening during MT assembly and disassembly, respectively. These results indicate that mDia2 has a novel MT stabilization activity that is separate from its actin nucleation activity.
During development of the central nervous system, the apical-basal polarity of neuroepithelial cells is critical for homeostasis of proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells. While adherens junctions at the apical surface of neuroepithelial cells are important for maintaining the polarity, the molecular mechanism regulating integrity of these adherens junctions remains largely unknown. Given the importance of actin cytoskeleton in adherens junctions, we have analyzed the role of mDia, an actin nucleator and a Rho effector, in the integrity of the apical adherens junction. Here we show that mDia1 and mDia3 are expressed in the developing brain, and that mDia3 is concentrated in the apical surface of neuroepithelium. Mice deficient in both mDia1 and mDia3 develop periventricular dysplastic mass widespread throughout the developing brain, where neuroepithelial cell polarity is impaired with attenuated apical actin belts and loss of apical adherens junctions. In addition, electron microscopic analysis revealed abnormal shrinkage and apical membrane bulging of neuroepithelial cells in the remaining areas. Furthermore, perturbation of Rho, but not that of ROCK, causes loss of the apical actin belt and adherens junctions similarly to mDia-deficient mice. These results suggest that actin cytoskeleton regulated by Rho-mDia pathway is critical for the integrity of the adherens junctions and the polarity of neuroepithelial cells, and that loss of this signaling induces aberrant, ectopic proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells.
Trafficking of immune cells is controlled by directed migration of relevant cells toward chemotactic signals. Actin cytoskeleton undergoes continuous remodeling and serves as machinery for cell migration. The mDia family of formins and the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP)–Arp2/3 system are two major actin nucleating–polymerizing systems in mammalian cells, with the former producing long straight actin filaments and the latter producing branched actin meshwork. Although much is known about the latter, the physiological functions of mDia proteins are unclear. We generated mice deficient in one mDia isoform, mDia1. Although mDia1−/− mice were born and developed without apparent abnormality, mDia1−/− T lymphocytes exhibited impaired trafficking to secondary lymphoid organs in vivo and showed reduced chemotaxis, little actin filament formation, and impaired polarity in response to chemotactic stimuli in vitro. Similarly, mDia1−/− thymocytes showed reduced chemotaxis and impaired egression from the thymus. These results suggest that mDia1 plays a distinct role in chemotaxis in T lymphocyte trafficking.
The small GTPase RhoD, activated by fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling, forms actin-based, cytoneme-like, thin and long cellular protrusions through activating mDia3C. These protrusions transmit FGF receptors toward the cell body. They are likely to be responsible for intercellular communication between FGF-producing cells and target cells.
The small GTPase RhoD regulates actin cytoskeleton to collapse actin stress fibers and focal adhesions, resulting in suppression of cell migration and cytokinesis. It also induces alignment of early endosomes along actin filaments and reduces their motility. We show here that a constitutively activated RhoD generated two types of actin-containing thin peripheral cellular protrusions distinct from Cdc42-induced filopodia. One was longer, almost straight, immotile, and sensitive to fixation, whereas the other was shorter, undulating, motile, and resistant to fixation. Moreover, cells expressing wild-type RhoD extended protrusions toward fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 2/4/8–coated beads. Stimulation of wild-type RhoD-expressing cells with these FGFs also caused formation of cellular protrusions. Nodules moved through the RhoD-induced longer protrusions, mainly toward the cell body. Exogenously expressed FGF receptor was associated with these moving nodules containing endosome-like vesicles. These results suggest that the protrusions are responsible for intercellular communication mediated by FGF and its receptor. Accordingly, the protrusions are morphologically and functionally equivalent to cytonemes. RhoD was activated by FGF2/4/8. Knockdown of RhoD interfered with FGF-induced protrusion formation. Activated RhoD specifically bound to mDia3C and facilitated actin polymerization together with mDia3C. mDia3C was localized to the tips or stems of the protrusions. In addition, constitutively activated mDia3C formed protrusions without RhoD or FGF stimulation. Knockdown of mDia3 obstructed RhoD-induced protrusion formation. These results imply that RhoD activated by FGF signaling forms cytoneme-like protrusions through activation of mDia3C, which induces actin filament formation.
A study of the role of actin cytoskeleton regulation in Golgi organization and function shows that Rho regulates Golgi fragmentation into ministacks, as well as formation of Rab6-positive Golgi-derived vesicles, via mDia1 formin activation. The Rho–mDia1 pathway affects the Golgi complex by controlling fusion and fission of Golgi membranes.
In mammalian cells, the Golgi apparatus is a ribbon-like, compact structure composed of multiple membrane stacks connected by tubular bridges. Microtubules are known to be important to Golgi integrity, but the role of the actin cytoskeleton in the maintenance of Golgi architecture remains unclear. Here we show that an increase in Rho activity, either by treatment of cells with lysophosphatidic acid or by expression of constitutively active mutants, resulted in pronounced fragmentation of the Golgi complex into ministacks. Golgi dispersion required the involvement of mDia1 formin, a downstream target of Rho and a potent activator of actin polymerization; moreover, constitutively active mDia1, in and of itself, was sufficient for Golgi dispersion. The dispersion process was accompanied by formation of dynamic F-actin patches in the Golgi area. Experiments with cytoskeletal inhibitors (e.g., latrunculin B, blebbistatin, and Taxol) revealed that actin polymerization, myosin-II–driven contractility, and microtubule-based intracellular movement were all involved in the process of Golgi dispersion induced by Rho–mDia1 activation. Live imaging of Golgi recovery revealed that fusion of the small Golgi stacks into larger compartments was repressed in cells with active mDia1. Furthermore, the formation of Rab6-positive transport vesicles derived from the Golgi complex was enhanced upon activation of the Rho–mDia1 pathway. Transient localization of mDia1 to Rab6-positive vesicles was detected in cells expressing active RhoA. Thus, the Rho–mDia1 pathway is involved in regulation of the Golgi structure, affecting remodeling of Golgi membranes.
Myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) is characterized by ineffective hematopoiesis and hyperplastic bone marrow. Complete loss or interstitial deletions of the long arm of chromosome 5 occur frequently in MDS. One candidate tumor suppressor on 5q is the mammalian Diaphanous (mDia)-related formin mDia1, encoded by DIAPH1 (5q31.3). mDia-family formins act as effectors for Rho-family small GTP-binding proteins including RhoB, which has also been shown to possess tumor suppressor activity. Mice lacking the Drf1 gene that encodes mDia1 develop age-dependent myelodysplastic features. We crossed mDia1 and RhoB knockout mice to test whether the additional loss of RhoB expression would compound the myelodysplastic phenotype. Drf1−/−RhoB−/− mice are fertile and develop normally. Relative to age-matched Drf1−/−RhoB+/− mice, the age of myelodysplasia onset was earlier in Drf1−/−RhoB−/− animals—including abnormally shaped erythrocytes, splenomegaly, and extramedullary hematopoiesis. In addition, we observed a statistically significant increase in the number of activated monocytes/macrophages in both the spleen and bone marrow of Drf1−/−RhoB−/− mice relative to Drf1−/−RhoB+/− mice. These data suggest a role for RhoB-regulated mDia1 in the regulation of hematopoietic progenitor cells.
Formin proteins direct the nucleation and assembly of linear actin filaments in a variety of cellular processes using their conserved formin homology 2 (FH2) domain. Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) are effectors of Rho-family GTPases, and in the absence of Rho activation they are maintained in an inactive state by intramolecular interactions between their regulatory N-terminal region and a C-terminal segment referred to as the DAD domain. Although structures are available for the isolated DAD segment in complex with the interacting region in the N-terminus, it remains unclear how this leads to inhibition of actin assembly by the FH2 domain. Here we describe the crystal structure of the N-terminal regulatory region of formin mDia1 in complex with a C-terminal fragment containing both the FH2 and DAD domains. In the crystal structure and in solution, these fragments form a tetrameric complex composed of two interlocking N+C dimers. Formation of the tetramer is likely a consequence of the particular N-terminal construct employed, as we show that a nearly full-length mDia1 protein is dimeric, as are other autoinhibited N+C complexes containing longer N-terminal fragments. The structure provides the first view of the intact C-terminus of a DRF, revealing the relationship of the DAD to the FH2 domain. Delineation of alternative dimeric N+C interactions within the tetramer provides two general models for autoinhibition in intact formins. In both models, engagement of the DAD by the N-terminus is incompatible with actin filament formation on the FH2, and in one model the actin binding surfaces of the FH2 domain are directly blocked by the N-terminus.
Actin polymerization-driven protrusion of the leading edge is a key element of cell motility. The important actin nucleators formins and the Arp2/3 complex are believed to have nonoverlapping functions in inducing actin filament bundles in filopodia and dendritic networks in lamellipodia, respectively. We tested this idea by investigating the role of mDia2 formin in leading-edge protrusion by loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches. Unexpectedly, mDia2 depletion by short interfering RNA (siRNA) severely inhibited lamellipodia. Structural analysis of the actin network in the few remaining lamellipodia suggested an mDia2 role in generation of long filaments. Consistently, constitutively active mDia2 (ΔGBD-mDia2) induced accumulation of long actin filaments in lamellipodia and increased persistence of lamellipodial protrusion. Depletion of mDia2 also inhibited filopodia, whereas expression of ΔGBD-mDia2 promoted their formation. Correlative light and electron microscopy showed that ΔGBD-mDia2–induced filopodia were formed from lamellipodial network through gradual convergence of long lamellipodial filaments into bundles. Efficient filopodia induction required mDia2 targeting to the membrane, likely through a scaffolding protein Abi1. Furthermore, mDia2 and Abi1 interacted through the N-terminal regulatory sequences of mDia2 and the SH3-containing Abi1 sequences. We propose that mDia2 plays an important role in formation of lamellipodia by nucleating and/or protecting from capping lamellipodial actin filaments, which subsequently exhibit high tendency to converge into filopodia.
Cell motility is a cyclic process, with the protrusion of the leading edge followed by retraction of the rear. Protrusion is driven by polymerization of actin filaments, with the spatial organization of these filaments determining the shape of the protrusions. For example, the spike-like filopodia contain bundles of long actin filaments, whereas the sheet-like lamellipodia contain branched actin networks. In biochemical assays, two stimulators of actin polymerization, Arp2/3 complex and formins, induce branched or individual filaments, respectively. In cells, Arp2/3 complex and formins also appear to be implicated in the formation of lamellipodia and filopodia, respectively. However, when we investigated the role of mDia2 formin by functional approaches, we unexpectedly found that it is essential, not only for filopodia, but also for lamellipodia. Moreover, functions of mDia2 in lamellipodia and filopodia appeared intimately linked. We recorded behavior of cells by light microscopy and then used electron microscopy to study actin architecture in the same cells. We found that an activated form of mDia2 was first recruited to lamellipodia, where it induced many long, unbranched filaments, and from there, drove formation of filopodia through gradual convergence of these lamellipodial filaments into bundles. These data demonstrate a strong relationship between structurally different actin filament arrays and molecular machineries involved in their formation.
Formin mDia2 was believed to function mainly in the generation of filopodia in migrating cells. We unexpectedly found that mDia2 is also important for lamellipodia and induces filopodia in association with lamellipodia.
mDia proteins are mammalian homologues of Drosophila diaphanous and belong to the formin family proteins that catalyze actin nucleation and polymerization. Although formin family proteins of nonmammalian species such as Drosophila diaphanous are essential in cytokinesis, whether and how mDia proteins function in cytokinesis remain unknown. Here we depleted each of the three mDia isoforms in NIH 3T3 cells by RNA interference and examined this issue. Depletion of mDia2 selectively increased the number of binucleate cells, which was corrected by coexpression of RNAi-resistant full-length mDia2. mDia2 accumulates in the cleavage furrow during anaphase to telophase, and concentrates in the midbody at the end of cytokinesis. Depletion of mDia2 induced contraction at aberrant sites of dividing cells, where contractile ring components such as RhoA, myosin, anillin, and phosphorylated ERM accumulated. Treatment with blebbistatin suppressed abnormal contraction, corrected localization of the above components, and revealed that the amount of F-actin at the equatorial region during anaphase/telophase was significantly decreased with mDia2 RNAi. These results demonstrate that mDia2 is essential in mammalian cell cytokinesis and that mDia2-induced F-actin forms a scaffold for the contractile ring and maintains its position in the middle of a dividing cell.
We examined the role of the actin nucleation promoters neural Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (N-WASP) and WAVE2 in cell protrusion in response to epidermal growth factor (EGF), a key regulator in carcinoma cell invasion. We found that WAVE2 knockdown (KD) suppresses lamellipod formation and increases filopod formation, whereas N-WASP KD has no effect. However, simultaneous KD of both proteins results in the formation of large jagged protrusions with lamellar properties and increased filopod formation. This suggests that another actin nucleation activity is at work in carcinoma cells in response to EGF. A mammalian Diaphanous–related formin, mDia1, localizes at the jagged protrusions in double KD cells. Constitutively active mDia1 recapitulated the phenotype, whereas inhibition of mDia1 blocked the formation of these protrusions. Increased RhoA activity, which stimulates mDia1 nucleation, was observed in the N-WASP/WAVE2 KD cells and was shown to be required for the N-WASP/WAVE2 KD phenotype. These data show that coordinate regulation between the WASP family and mDia proteins controls the balance between lamellar and lamellipodial protrusion activity.
The small GTPase RhoA controls activity of serum response factor (SRF) by inducing changes in actin dynamics. We show that in PC12 cells, activation of SRF after serum stimulation is RhoA dependent, requiring both actin polymerization and the Rho kinase (ROCK)–LIM kinase (LIMK)–cofilin signaling pathway, previously shown to control F-actin turnover. Activation of SRF by overexpression of wild-type LIMK or ROCK-insensitive LIMK mutants also requires functional RhoA, indicating that a second RhoA-dependent signal is involved. This is provided by the RhoA effector mDia: dominant interfering mDia1 derivatives inhibit both serum- and LIMK-induced SRF activation and reduce the ability of LIMK to induce F-actin accumulation. These results demonstrate a role for LIMK in SRF activation, and functional cooperation between RhoA-controlled LIMK and mDia effector pathways.
LIM kinase; mDia; ROCK; actin; SRF
Regulation of cell polarity is a process observed in all cells. During directed migration, cells orientate their microtubule cytoskeleton and the microtubule-organizing-center (MTOC), which involves integrins and downstream Cdc42 and glycogen synthase kinase-3β activity. However, the contribution of G protein-coupled receptor signal transduction for MTOC polarity is less well understood. Here, we report that the heterotrimeric Gα12 and Gα13 proteins are necessary for MTOC polarity and microtubule dynamics based on studies using Gα12/13-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Cell polarization involves the Gα12/13-interacting leukemia-associated RhoGEF (LARG) and the actin-nucleating diaphanous formin mDia1. Interestingly, LARG associates with pericentrin and localizes to the MTOC and along microtubule tracks. We propose that Gα12/13 proteins exert essential functions linking extracellular signals to microtubule dynamics and cell polarity via RhoGEF and formin activity.
Formins are potent actin assembly factors. Diaphanous formins, including mDia1, mDia2, and mDia3 in mammals, are implicated in mitosis and cytokinesis but no chemical interactors have been reported. We developed an in vitro screen for inhibitors of actin assembly by mDia1, and identified an inhibitor of mDia1 and mDia2 that does not inhibit mDia3 at the concentrations tested. These results establish the druggability of mDia formins and introduce a first generation inhibitor.
The Diaphanous-related formin Dia1 nucleates actin polymerization, thereby regulating cell shape and motility. Mechanisms that control the cellular location of Dia1 to spatially define actin polymerization are largely unknown. In this study, we identify the cytoskeletal scaffold protein IQGAP1 as a Dia1-binding protein that is necessary for its subcellular location. IQGAP1 interacts with Dia1 through a region within the Diaphanous inhibitory domain after the RhoA-mediated release of Dia1 autoinhibition. Both proteins colocalize at the front of migrating cells but also at the actin-rich phagocytic cup in macrophages. We show that IQGAP1 interaction with Dia1 is required for phagocytosis and phagocytic cup formation. Thus, we identify IQGAP1 as a novel component involved in the regulation of phagocytosis by mediating the localization of the actin filament nucleator Dia1.
The small GTPase Rho acts on two effectors, ROCK and mDia1, and induces stress fibers and focal adhesions. However, how ROCK and mDia1 individually regulate signals and dynamics of these structures remains unknown. We stimulated serum-starved Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts with LPA and compared the effects of C3 exoenzyme, a Rho inhibitor, with those of Y-27632, a ROCK inhibitor. Y-27632 treatment suppressed LPA-induced formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions as did C3 exoenzyme but induced membrane ruffles and focal complexes, which were absent in the C3 exoenzyme-treated cells. This phenotype was suppressed by expression of N17Rac. Consistently, the amount of GTP-Rac increased significantly by Y-27632 in LPA-stimulated cells. Biochemically, Y-27632 suppressed tyrosine phosphorylation of paxillin and focal adhesion kinase and not that of Cas. Inhibition of Cas phosphorylation with PP1 or expression of a dominant negative Cas mutant inhibited Y-27632–induced membrane ruffle formation. Moreover, Crk-II mutants lacking in binding to either phosphorylated Cas or DOCK180 suppressed the Y-27632–induced membrane ruffle formation. Finally, expression of a dominant negative mDia1 mutant also inhibited the membrane ruffle formation by Y-27632. Thus, these results have revealed the Rho-dependent Rac activation signaling that is mediated by mDia1 through Cas phosphorylation and antagonized by the action of ROCK.
Rho; mDia; Rac; membrane ruffles; Y-27632
Formins have conserved roles in cell polarity and cytokinesis and directly nucleate actin filament assembly through their FH2 domain. Here, we define the active region of the yeast formin Bni1 FH2 domain and show that it dimerizes. Mutations that disrupt dimerization abolish actin assembly activity, suggesting that dimers are the active state of FH2 domains. The Bni1 FH2 domain protects growing barbed ends of actin filaments from vast excesses of capping protein, suggesting that the dimer maintains a persistent association during elongation. This is not a species-specific mechanism, as the activities of purified mammalian formin mDia1 are identical to those of Bni1. Further, mDia1 partially complements BNI1 function in vivo, and expression of a dominant active mDia1 construct in yeast causes similar phenotypes to dominant active Bni1 constructs. In addition, we purified the Bni1-interacting half of the cell polarity factor Bud6 and found that it binds specifically to actin monomers and, like profilin, promotes rapid nucleotide exchange on actin. Bud6 and profilin show additive stimulatory effects on Bni1 activity and have a synthetic lethal genetic interaction in vivo. From these results, we propose a model in which Bni1 FH2 dimers nucleate and processively cap the elongating barbed end of the actin filament, and Bud6 and profilin generate a local flux of ATP-actin monomers to promote actin assembly.
Formin proteins utilize a conserved formin homology 2 (FH2) domain to nucleate new actin filaments. In mammalian diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) the FH2 domain is inhibited through an unknown mechanism by intramolecular binding of the diaphanous autoinhibitory domain (DAD) and the diaphanous inhibitory domain (DID).
Here we report the crystal structure of a complex between DID and FH2-DAD fragments of the mammalian DRF, mDia1 (mammalian diaphanous 1 also called Drf1 or p140mDia). The structure shows a tetrameric configuration (4 FH2 + 4 DID) in which the actin-binding sites on the FH2 domain are sterically occluded. However biochemical data suggest the full-length mDia1 is a dimer in solution (2 FH2 + 2 DID). Based on the crystal structure, we have generated possible dimer models and found that architectures of all of these models are incompatible with binding to actin filament but not to actin monomer. Furthermore, we show that the minimal functional monomeric unit in the FH2 domain, termed the bridge element, can be inhibited by isolated monomeric DID. NMR data on the bridge-DID system revealed that at least one of the two actin-binding sites on the bridge element is accessible to actin monomer in the inhibited state.
Our findings suggest that autoinhibition in the native DRF dimer involves steric hindrance with the actin filament. Although the structure of a full-length DRF would be required for clarification of the presented models, our work here provides the first structural insights into the mechanism of the DRF autoinhibition.