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1.  Initial Polarized Bud Growth by Endocytic Recycling in the Absence of Actin Cable–dependent Vesicle Transport in Yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(7):1237-1252.
Budding yeast mutants in assembly of actin cables, which are thought to be the only actin structures essential for budding, still could form a small bud. Mutations in actin patch endocytic machineries/endocytic recycling factors inhibited this budding, suggesting a mechanism that promotes polarized growth by local recycling of endocytic vesicles.
The assembly of filamentous actin is essential for polarized bud growth in budding yeast. Actin cables, which are assembled by the formins Bni1p and Bnr1p, are thought to be the only actin structures that are essential for budding. However, we found that formin or tropomyosin mutants, which lack actin cables, are still able to form a small bud. Additional mutations in components for cortical actin patches, which are assembled by the Arp2/3 complex to play a pivotal role in endocytic vesicle formation, inhibited this budding. Genes involved in endocytic recycling were also required for small-bud formation in actin cable-less mutants. These results suggest that budding yeast possesses a mechanism that promotes polarized growth by local recycling of endocytic vesicles. Interestingly, the type V myosin Myo2p, which was thought to use only actin cables to track, also contributed to budding in the absence of actin cables. These results suggest that some actin network may serve as the track for Myo2p-driven vesicle transport in the absence of actin cables or that Myo2p can function independent of actin filaments. Our results also show that polarity regulators including Cdc42p were still polarized in mutants defective in both actin cables and cortical actin patches, suggesting that the actin cytoskeleton does not play a major role in cortical assembly of polarity regulators in budding yeast.
PMCID: PMC2847527  PMID: 20147449
2.  Antenna Mechanism of Length Control of Actin Cables 
PLoS Computational Biology  2015;11(6):e1004160.
Actin cables are linear cytoskeletal structures that serve as tracks for myosin-based intracellular transport of vesicles and organelles in both yeast and mammalian cells. In a yeast cell undergoing budding, cables are in constant dynamic turnover yet some cables grow from the bud neck toward the back of the mother cell until their length roughly equals the diameter of the mother cell. This raises the question: how is the length of these cables controlled? Here we describe a novel molecular mechanism for cable length control inspired by recent experimental observations in cells. This “antenna mechanism” involves three key proteins: formins, which polymerize actin, Smy1 proteins, which bind formins and inhibit actin polymerization, and myosin motors, which deliver Smy1 to formins, leading to a length-dependent actin polymerization rate. We compute the probability distribution of cable lengths as a function of several experimentally tuneable parameters such as the formin-binding affinity of Smy1 and the concentration of myosin motors delivering Smy1. These results provide testable predictions of the antenna mechanism of actin-cable length control.
Author Summary
Based on published cell experiments, we propose a novel mechanism of length control of actin cables in budding yeast cells. The key feature of this “antenna mechanism” is negative feedback of the cable length on the activity of formins, which are proteins that attach to the growing ends of actin filaments and catalyse their polymerization. We recently showed that the protein Smy1 is critical for maintaining proper cable length in yeast cells. Smy1 proteins are delivered to the formins by directed motion of myosin motors toward the growing end, and they transiently inhibit actin cable polymerization when bound to the formins. This provides negative feedback resulting in an average rate of cable assembly that diminishes with cable length. Here we incorporate this antenna mechanism into a physical model of cable polymerization and provide experimentally testable predictions for the dependence of the length distribution of cables on the concentration of Smy1, and on mutations that affect its affinity to formins.
PMCID: PMC4480850  PMID: 26107518
3.  Polarized Growth in Budding Yeast in the Absence of a Localized Formin 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(10):2540-2548.
Polarity is achieved partly through the localized assembly of the cytoskeleton. During growth in budding yeast, the bud cortex and neck localized formins Bni1p and Bnr1p nucleate and assemble actin cables that extend along the bud-mother axis, providing tracks for secretory vesicle delivery. Localized formins are believed to determine the location and polarity of cables, hence growth. However, yeast expressing the nonlocalized actin nucleating/assembly formin homology (FH) 1-FH2 domains of Bnr1p or Bni1p as the sole formin grow well. Although cables are significantly disorganized, analysis of directed transport of secretory vesicles is still biased toward the bud, reflecting a bias in correctly oriented cables, thereby permitting polarized growth. Myosin II, localized at the bud neck, contributes to polarized growth as a mutant unable to interact with F-actin further compromises growth in cells with an unlocalized formin but not with a localized formin. Our results show that multiple mechanisms contribute to cable orientation and polarized growth, with localized formins and myosin II being two major contributors.
PMCID: PMC2682595  PMID: 19297522
4.  Myosin Vs organize actin cables in fission yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(23):4579-4591.
In fission yeast, myosin Vs contribute to actin cable extension through the cell and promote retrograde flow. Chimeric motor proteins are used to show that Myo52 organizes actin cables by both delivering cargoes to cell tips and exerting physical force pulling on the cables. This suggests that cable tracks are shaped by cargo transport.
Myosin V motors are believed to contribute to cell polarization by carrying cargoes along actin tracks. In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Myosin Vs transport secretory vesicles along actin cables, which are dynamic actin bundles assembled by the formin For3 at cell poles. How these flexible structures are able to extend longitudinally in the cell through the dense cytoplasm is unknown. Here we show that in myosin V (myo52 myo51) null cells, actin cables are curled, bundled, and fail to extend into the cell interior. They also exhibit reduced retrograde flow, suggesting that formin-mediated actin assembly is impaired. Myo52 may contribute to actin cable organization by delivering actin regulators to cell poles, as myoV∆ defects are partially suppressed by diverting cargoes toward cell tips onto microtubules with a kinesin 7–Myo52 tail chimera. In addition, Myo52 motor activity may pull on cables to provide the tension necessary for their extension and efficient assembly, as artificially tethering actin cables to the nuclear envelope via a Myo52 motor domain restores actin cable extension and retrograde flow in myoV mutants. Together these in vivo data reveal elements of a self-organizing system in which the motors shape their own tracks by transporting cargoes and exerting physical pulling forces.
PMCID: PMC3510019  PMID: 23051734
5.  Stable and Dynamic Axes of Polarity Use Distinct Formin Isoforms in Budding YeastD⃞V⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(11):4971-4989.
Bud growth in yeast is guided by myosin-driven delivery of secretory vesicles from the mother cell to the bud. We find transport occurs along two sets of actin cables assembled by two formin isoforms. The Bnr1p formin assembles cables that radiate from the bud neck into the mother, providing a stable mother-bud axis. These cables also depend on septins at the neck and are required for efficient transport from the mother to the bud. The Bni1p formin assembles cables that line the bud cortex and target vesicles to varying locations in the bud. Loss of these cables results in morphological defects as vesicles accumulate at the neck. Assembly of these cables depends on continued polarized secretion, suggesting vesicular transport provides a positive feedback signal for Bni1p activation, possibly by rho-proteins. By coupling different formin isoforms to unique cortical landmarks, yeast uses common cytoskeletal elements to maintain stable and dynamic axes in the same cell.
PMCID: PMC524755  PMID: 15371545
6.  Yeast Formins Bni1 and Bnr1 Utilize Different Modes of Cortical Interaction during the Assembly of Actin Cables 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(5):1826-1838.
The budding yeast formins Bni1 and Bnr1 control the assembly of actin cables. These formins exhibit distinct patterns of localization and polymerize two different populations of cables: Bni1 in the bud and Bnr1 in the mother cell. We generated a functional Bni1-3GFP that improved the visualization of Bni1 in vivo at endogenous levels. Bni1 exists as speckles in the cytoplasm, some of which colocalize on actin cables. These Bni1 speckles display linear, retrograde-directed movements. Loss of polymerized actin or specifically actin cables abolished retrograde movement, and resulted in depletion of Bni1 speckles from the cytoplasm, with enhanced targeting of Bni1 to the bud tip. Mutations that impair the actin assembly activity of Bni1 abolished the movement of Bni1 speckles, even when actin cables were present. In contrast, Bnr1-GFP or 3GFP-Bnr1 did not detectably associate with actin cables and was not observed as cytoplasmic speckles. Finally, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching demonstrated that Bni1 was very dynamic, exchanging between polarized sites and the cytoplasm, whereas Bnr1 was confined to the bud neck and did not exchange with a cytoplasmic pool. In summary, our results indicate that formins can have distinct modes of cortical interaction during actin cable assembly.
PMCID: PMC1855024  PMID: 17344480
7.  Yeast formin Bni1p has multiple localization regions that function in polarized growth and spindle orientation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(3):412-422.
There are four distinct localization domains in formin Bni1p of budding yeast. Analysis of the functions of the domains in the actin cytoskeleton and in spindle orientation reveals unexpected complexity in the mechanism of formin localization and function.
Formins are conserved proteins that assemble unbranched actin filaments in a regulated, localized manner. Budding yeast's two formins, Bni1p and Bnr1p, assemble actin cables necessary for polarized cell growth and organelle segregation. Here we define four regions in Bni1p that contribute to its localization to the bud and at the bud neck. The first (residues 1–333) requires dimerization for its localization and encompasses the Rho-binding domain. The second (residues 334–821) covers the Diaphanous inhibitory–dimerization–coiled coil domains, and the third is the Spa2p-binding domain. The fourth region encompasses the formin homology 1–formin homology 2–COOH region of the protein. These four regions can each localize to the bud cortex and bud neck at the right stage of the cell cycle independent of both F-actin and endogenous Bni1p. The first three regions contribute cumulatively to the proper localization of Bni1p, as revealed by the effects of progressive loss of these regions on the actin cytoskeleton and fidelity of spindle orientation. The fourth region contributes to the localization of Bni1p in tiny budded cells. Expression of mislocalized Bni1p constructs has a dominant-negative effect on both growth and nuclear segregation due to mislocalized actin assembly. These results define an unexpected complexity in the mechanism of formin localization and function.
PMCID: PMC3268721  PMID: 22160598
8.  Actin-mediated Delivery of Astral Microtubules Instructs Kar9p Asymmetric Loading to the Bud-Ward Spindle Pole 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(15):2685-2695.
We show that Kar9p polarity is instructed by a feedback loop that requires astral microtubules, actin cables, and Myo2p-based transport to enforce Kar9p loading to the bud-ward pole. This novel mechanism also provides the basis for a model unifying Kar9p polarity and the stereotyped pattern of spindle pole inheritance known to occur in yeast.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Kar9p, one player in spindle alignment, guides the bud-ward spindle pole by linking astral microtubule plus ends to Myo2p-based transport along actin cables generated by the formins Bni1p and Bnr1p and the polarity determinant Bud6p. Initially, Kar9p labels both poles but progressively singles out the bud-ward pole. Here, we show that this polarization requires cell polarity determinants, actin cables, and microtubules. Indeed, in a bud6Δ bni1Δ mutant or upon direct depolymerization of actin cables Kar9p symmetry increased. Furthermore, symmetry was selectively induced by myo2 alleles, preventing Kar9p binding to the Myo2p cargo domain. Kar9p polarity was rebuilt after transient disruption of microtubules, dependent on cell polarity and actin cables. Symmetry breaking also occurred after transient depolymerization of actin cables, with Kar9p increasing at the spindle pole engaging in repeated cycles of Kar9p-mediated transport. Kar9p returning to the spindle pole on shrinking astral microtubules may contribute toward this bias. Thus, Myo2p transport along actin cables may support a feedback loop by which delivery of astral microtubule plus ends sustains Kar9p polarized recruitment to the bud-ward spindle pole. Our findings also explain the link between Kar9p polarity and the choice setting aside the old spindle pole for daughter-bound fate.
PMCID: PMC2912354  PMID: 20534809
9.  The F-BAR protein Hof1 tunes formin activity to sculpt actin cables during polarized growth 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(11):1730-1743.
A new in vivo role is defined for the yeast F-BAR protein Hof1 in polarized cell growth. Hof1 dimers bind to the FH1 domains of the formin Bnr1 and inhibit actin polymerization while the formin remains attached to filament ends. This activity is required in vivo for normal actin cable architecture and polarized secretion.
Asymmetric cell growth and division rely on polarized actin cytoskeleton remodeling events, the regulation of which is poorly understood. In budding yeast, formins stimulate the assembly of an organized network of actin cables that direct polarized secretion. Here we show that the Fer/Cip4 homology–Bin amphiphysin Rvs protein Hof1, which has known roles in cytokinesis, also functions during polarized growth by directly controlling the activities of the formin Bnr1. A mutant lacking the C-terminal half of Hof1 displays misoriented and architecturally altered cables, along with impaired secretory vesicle traffic. In vitro, Hof1 inhibits the actin nucleation and elongation activities of Bnr1 without displacing the formin from filament ends. These effects depend on the Src homology 3 domain of Hof1, the formin homology 1 (FH1) domain of Bnr1, and Hof1 dimerization, suggesting a mechanism by which Hof1 “restrains” the otherwise flexible FH1-FH2 apparatus. In vivo, loss of inhibition does not alter actin levels in cables but, instead, cable shape and functionality. Thus Hof1 tunes formins to sculpt the actin cable network.
PMCID: PMC4038500  PMID: 24719456
10.  Formin-dependent actin assembly is regulated by distinct modes of Rho signaling in yeast 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;161(6):1081-1092.
Formins are actin filament nucleators regulated by Rho-GTPases. In budding yeast, the formins Bni1p and Bnr1p direct the assembly of actin cables, which guide polarized secretion and growth. From the six yeast Rho proteins (Cdc42p and Rho1–5p), we have determined that four participate in the regulation of formin activity. We show that the essential function of Rho3p and Rho4p is to activate the formins Bni1p and Bnr1p, and that activated alleles of either formin are able to bypass the requirement for these Rho proteins. Through a separate signaling pathway, Rho1p is necessary for formin activation at elevated temperatures, acting through protein kinase C (Pkc1p), the major effector for Rho1p signaling to the actin cytoskeleton. Although Pkc1p also activates a MAPK pathway, this pathway does not function in formin activation. Formin-dependent cable assembly does not require Cdc42p, but in the absence of Cdc42p function, cable assembly is not properly organized during initiation of bud growth. These results show that formin function is under the control of three distinct, essential Rho signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC2173006  PMID: 12810699
actin; polarity; Cdc42; PKC; MAPK
11.  Actin cable distribution and dynamics arising from cross-linking, motor pulling, and filament turnover 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(19):3006-3016.
A computational model of actin cables in fission yeast is presented that includes polymerization, severing, cross-linking, and motor pulling. Results reproduce observations in wild-type cells and cells lacking myosin V and are compared to images of cells overexpressing α-actinin. Formin clustering at cell tips is predicted to promote cable formation.
The growth of fission yeast relies on the polymerization of actin filaments nucleated by formin For3p, which localizes at tip cortical sites. These actin filaments bundle to form actin cables that span the cell and guide the movement of vesicles toward the cell tips. A big challenge is to develop a quantitative understanding of these cellular actin structures. We used computer simulations to study the spatial and dynamical properties of actin cables. We simulated individual actin filaments as semiflexible polymers in three dimensions composed of beads connected with springs. Polymerization out of For3p cortical sites, bundling by cross-linkers, pulling by type V myosin, and severing by cofilin are simulated as growth, cross-linking, pulling, and turnover of the semiflexible polymers. With the foregoing mechanisms, the model generates actin cable structures and dynamics similar to those observed in live-cell experiments. Our simulations reproduce the particular actin cable structures in myoVΔ cells and predict the effect of increased myosin V pulling. Increasing cross-linking parameters generates thicker actin cables. It also leads to antiparallel and parallel phases with straight or curved cables, consistent with observations of cells overexpressing α-actinin. Finally, the model predicts that clustering of formins at cell tips promotes actin cable formation.
PMCID: PMC4230589  PMID: 25103242
12.  Mechanism and cellular function of Bud6 as an actin nucleation–promoting factor 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(21):4016-4028.
Bud6 functions as an actin nucleation–promoting factor (NPF) for Bni1; thus formins can depend on NPFs like the Arp2/3 complex. Unexpected parallels exist between Bud6 and WASp. Bud6 is the first nonmetazoan example of formins pairing with actin monomer–binding proteins to stimulate nucleation, akin to Spire-Capu and APC-mDia1
Formins are a conserved family of actin assembly–promoting factors with diverse biological roles, but how their activities are regulated in vivo is not well understood. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the formins Bni1 and Bnr1 are required for the assembly of actin cables and polarized cell growth. Proper cable assembly further requires Bud6. Previously it was shown that Bud6 enhances Bni1-mediated actin assembly in vitro, but the biochemical mechanism and in vivo role of this activity were left unclear. Here we demonstrate that Bud6 specifically stimulates the nucleation rather than the elongation phase of Bni1-mediated actin assembly, defining Bud6 as a nucleation-promoting factor (NPF) and distinguishing its effects from those of profilin. We generated alleles of Bud6 that uncouple its interactions with Bni1 and G-actin and found that both interactions are critical for NPF activity. Our data indicate that Bud6 promotes filament nucleation by recruiting actin monomers to Bni1. Genetic analysis of the same alleles showed that Bud6 regulation of formin activity is critical for normal levels of actin cable assembly in vivo. Our results raise important mechanistic parallels between Bud6 and WASP, as well as between Bud6 and other NPFs that interact with formins such as Spire.
PMCID: PMC3204064  PMID: 21880892
13.  Cdc42p regulation of the yeast formin Bni1p mediated by the effector Gic2p 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(19):3814-3826.
Regulation of the formin Bni1p by Cdc42p in yeast does not require direct interaction between Bni1p and Cdc42p. The Cdc42p effector Gic2p can bind both Bni1p and GTP-Cdc42p, providing a novel regulatory input.
Actin filaments are dynamically reorganized to accommodate ever-changing cellular needs for intracellular transport, morphogenesis, and migration. Formins, a major family of actin nucleators, are believed to function as direct effectors of Rho GTPases, such as the polarity regulator Cdc42p. However, the presence of extensive redundancy has made it difficult to assess the in vivo significance of the low-affinity Rho GTPase–formin interaction and specifically whether Cdc42p polarizes the actin cytoskeleton via direct formin binding. Here we exploit a synthetically rewired budding yeast strain to eliminate the redundancy, making regulation of the formin Bni1p by Cdc42p essential for viability. Surprisingly, we find that direct Cdc42p–Bni1p interaction is dispensable for Bni1p regulation. Alternative paths linking Cdc42p and Bni1p via “polarisome” components Spa2p and Bud6p are also collectively dispensable. We identify a novel regulatory input to Bni1p acting through the Cdc42p effector, Gic2p. This pathway is sufficient to localize Bni1p to the sites of Cdc42p action and promotes a polarized actin organization in both rewired and wild-type contexts. We suggest that an indirect mechanism linking Rho GTPases and formins via Rho effectors may provide finer spatiotemporal control for the formin-nucleated actin cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC3459858  PMID: 22918946
14.  Assembly and Function of the Actin Cytoskeleton of Yeast: Relationships between Cables and Patches  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1998;142(6):1501-1517.
Actin in eukaryotic cells is found in different pools, with filaments being organized into a variety of supramolecular assemblies. To investigate the assembly and functional relationships between different parts of the actin cytoskeleton in one cell, we studied the morphology and dynamics of cables and patches in yeast. The fine structure of actin cables and the manner in which cables disassemble support a model in which cables are composed of a number of overlapping actin filaments. No evidence for intrinsic polarity of cables was found.
To investigate to what extent different parts of the actin cytoskeleton depend on each other, we looked for relationships between cables and patches. Patches and cables were often associated, and their polarized distributions were highly correlated. Therefore, patches and cables do appear to depend on each other for assembly and function.
Many cell types show rearrangements of the actin cytoskeleton, which can occur via assembly or movement of actin filaments. In our studies, dramatic changes in actin polarization did not include changes in filamentous actin. In addition, the concentration of actin patches was relatively constant as cells grew. Therefore, cells do not have bursts of activity in which new parts of the actin cytoskeleton are created.
PMCID: PMC2141765  PMID: 9744880
actin; cytoskeleton; yeast; fluorescence microscopy; 3-D reconstructions
15.  Regulation of the Formin for3p by cdc42p and bud6p 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(10):4155-4167.
Formins are conserved actin nucleators responsible for the assembly of diverse actin structures. Many formins are controlled through an autoinhibitory mechanism involving the interaction of a C-terminal DAD sequence with an N-terminal DID sequence. Here, we show that the fission yeast formin for3p, which mediates actin cable assembly and polarized cell growth, is regulated by a similar autoinhibitory mechanism in vivo. Multiple sites govern for3p localization to cell tips. The localization and activity of for3p are inhibited by an intramolecular interaction of divergent DAD and DID-like sequences. A for3p DAD mutant expressed at endogenous levels produces more robust actin cables, which appear to have normal organization and dynamics. We identify cdc42p as the primary Rho GTPase involved in actin cable assembly and for3p regulation. Both cdc42p, which binds at the N terminus of for3p, and bud6p, which binds near the C-terminal DAD-like sequence, are needed for for3p localization and full activity, but a mutation in the for3p DAD restores for3p localization and other phenotypes of cdc42 and bud6 mutants. In particular, the for3p DAD mutation suppresses the bipolar growth (NETO) defect of bud6Δ cells. These findings suggest that cdc42p and bud6p activate for3p by relieving autoinhibition.
PMCID: PMC1995706  PMID: 17699595
16.  Dynamic Localization and Function of Bni1p at the Sites of Directed Growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(3):827-839.
Formin homology (FH) proteins are implicated in cell polarization and cytokinesis through actin organization. There are two FH proteins in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Bni1p and Bnr1p. Bni1p physically interacts with Rho family small G proteins (Rho1p and Cdc42p), actin, two actin-binding proteins (profilin and Bud6p), and a polarity protein (Spa2p). Here we analyzed the in vivo localization of Bni1p by using a time-lapse imaging system and investigated the regulatory mechanisms of Bni1p localization and function in relation to these interacting proteins. Bni1p fused with green fluorescent protein localized to the sites of cell growth throughout the cell cycle. In a small-budded cell, Bni1p moved along the bud cortex. This dynamic localization of Bni1p coincided with the apparent site of bud growth. A bni1-disrupted cell showed a defect in directed growth to the pre-bud site and to the bud tip (apical growth), causing its abnormally spherical cell shape and thick bud neck. Bni1p localization at the bud tips was absolutely dependent on Cdc42p, largely dependent on Spa2p and actin filaments, and partly dependent on Bud6p, but scarcely dependent on polarized cortical actin patches or Rho1p. These results indicate that Bni1p regulates polarized growth within the bud through its unique and dynamic pattern of localization, dependent on multiple factors, including Cdc42p, Spa2p, Bud6p, and the actin cytoskeleton.
PMCID: PMC86674  PMID: 11154270
17.  Ras1-Induced Hyphal Development in Candida albicans Requires the Formin Bni1 
Eukaryotic Cell  2005;4(10):1712-1724.
Formins are downstream effector proteins of Rho-type GTPases and are involved in the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and actin cable assembly at sites of polarized cell growth. Here we show using in vivo time-lapse microscopy that deletion of the Candida albicans formin homolog BNI1 results in polarity defects during yeast growth and hyphal stages. Deletion of the second C. albicans formin, BNR1, resulted in elongated yeast cells with cell separation defects but did not interfere with the ability of bnr1 cells to initiate and maintain polarized hyphal growth. Yeast bni1 cells were swollen, showed an increased random budding pattern, and had a severe defect in cytokinesis, with enlarged bud necks. Induction of hyphal development in bni1 cells resulted in germ tube formation but was halted at the step of polarity maintenance. Bni1-green fluorescent protein is found persistently at the hyphal tip and colocalizes with a structure resembling the Spitzenkörper of true filamentous fungi. Introduction of constitutively active ras1G13V in the bni1 strain or addition of cyclic AMP to the growth medium did not bypass bni1 hyphal growth defects. Similarly, these agents were not able to suppress hyphal growth defects in the wal1 mutant which is lacking the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASP) homolog. These results suggest that the maintenance of polarized hyphal growth in C. albicans requires coordinated regulation of two actin cytoskeletal pathways, including formin-mediated secretion and WASP-dependent endocytosis.
PMCID: PMC1265897  PMID: 16215178
18.  The myosin passenger protein Smy1 controls actin cable structure and dynamics by acting as a formin damper 
Developmental cell  2011;21(2):217-230.
Formins are a conserved family of proteins with robust effects in promoting actin nucleation and elongation. However, the mechanisms restraining formin activities in cells to generate actin networks with particular dynamics and architectures are not well understood. In S. cerevisiae, formins assemble actin cables, which serve as tracks for myosin-dependent intracellular transport. Here, we show that the kinesin-like myosin passenger-protein Smy1 interacts with the FH2 domain of the formin Bnr1 to decrease rates of actin filament elongation, which is distinct from the formin displacement activity of Bud14. In vivo analysis of smy1Δ mutants demonstrates that this ‘damper’ mechanism is critical for maintaining proper actin cable architecture, dynamics, and function. We directly observe Smy1–3GFP being transported by myosin V and transiently pausing at the neck in a manner dependent on Bnr1. These observations suggest that Smy1 is part of a negative feedback mechanism that detects cable length and prevents overgrowth.
PMCID: PMC3157649  PMID: 21839918
actin; formin; Smy1; myosin; Bnr1; yeast; kinesin; Bud14
19.  Opposing Roles for Actin in Cdc42p PolarizationD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(3):1296-1304.
In animal and fungal cells, the monomeric GTPase Cdc42p is a key regulator of cell polarity that itself exhibits a polarized distribution in asymmetric cells. Previous work showed that in budding yeast, Cdc42p polarization is unaffected by depolymerization of the actin cytoskeleton (Ayscough et al., J. Cell Biol. 137, 399–416, 1997). Surprisingly, we now report that unlike complete actin depolymerization, partial actin depolymerization leads to the dispersal of Cdc42p from the polarization site in unbudded cells. We provide evidence that dispersal is due to endocytosis associated with cortical actin patches and that actin cables are required to counteract the dispersal and maintain Cdc42p polarity. Thus, although Cdc42p is initially polarized in an actin-independent manner, maintaining that polarity may involve a reinforcing feedback between Cdc42p and polarized actin cables to counteract the dispersing effects of actin-dependent endocytosis. In addition, we report that once a bud has formed, polarized Cdc42p becomes more resistant to dispersal, revealing an unexpected difference between unbudded and budded cells in the organization of the polarization site.
PMCID: PMC551493  PMID: 15616194
20.  Septin Ring Assembly Requires Concerted Action of Polarisome Components, a PAK Kinase Cla4p, and the Actin Cytoskeleton in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2004;15(12):5329-5345.
Septins are filament-forming proteins that function in cytokinesis in a wide variety of organisms. In budding yeast, the small GTPase Cdc42p triggers the recruitment of septins to the incipient budding site and the assembly of septins into a ring. We herein report that Bni1p and Cla4p, effectors of Cdc42p, are required for the assembly of the septin ring during the initiation of budding but not for its maintenance after the ring converts to a septin collar. In bni1Δ cla4-75-td mutant, septins were recruited to the incipient budding site. However, the septin ring was not assembled, and septins remained at the polarized growing sites. Bni1p, a formin family protein, is a member of the polarisome complex with Spa2p, Bud6p, and Pea2p. All spa2Δ cla4-75-td, bud6Δ cla4-75-td, and pea2Δ cla4-75-td mutants showed defects in septin ring assembly. Bni1p stimulates actin polymerization for the formation of actin cables. Point mutants of BNI1 that are specifically defective in actin cable formation also exhibited septin ring assembly defects in the absence of Cla4p. Consistently, treatment of cla4Δ mutant with the actin inhibitor latrunculin A inhibited septin ring assembly. Our results suggest that polarisome components and Cla4p are required for the initial assembly of the septin ring and that the actin cytoskeleton is involved in this process.
PMCID: PMC532014  PMID: 15371547
21.  Motility and Segregation of Hsp104-Associated Protein Aggregates in Budding Yeast 
Cell  2011;147(5):1186-1196.
During yeast cell division, aggregates of damaged proteins are segregated asymmetrically between the bud and the mother. It is thought that protein aggregates are cleared from the bud via actin cable-based retrograde transport toward the mother, and that Bni1p formin regulates this transport. Here we examined the dynamics of Hsp104-associated protein aggregates by video microscopy, particle tracking and image correlation analysis. We show that protein aggregates undergo random walk without directional bias. Clearance of heat-induced aggregates from the bud does not depend on formin proteins but occurs mostly through dissolution via Hsp104p chaperon. Aggregates formed naturally in aged cells also exhibit random walk but do not dissolve during observation. Although our data does not disagree with a role for actin or cell polarity in aggregate segregation, modeling suggests that their asymmetric inheritance can be a predictable outcome of aggregates' slow diffusion and the geometry of yeast cells.
PMCID: PMC3237388  PMID: 22118470
22.  F-Actin Dynamics in Neurospora crassa ▿ † 
Eukaryotic Cell  2010;9(4):547-557.
This study demonstrates the utility of Lifeact for the investigation of actin dynamics in Neurospora crassa and also represents the first report of simultaneous live-cell imaging of the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons in filamentous fungi. Lifeact is a 17-amino-acid peptide derived from the nonessential Saccharomyces cerevisiae actin-binding protein Abp140p. Fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) or red fluorescent protein (TagRFP), Lifeact allowed live-cell imaging of actin patches, cables, and rings in N. crassa without interfering with cellular functions. Actin cables and patches localized to sites of active growth during the establishment and maintenance of cell polarity in germ tubes and conidial anastomosis tubes (CATs). Recurrent phases of formation and retrograde movement of complex arrays of actin cables were observed at growing tips of germ tubes and CATs. Two populations of actin patches exhibiting slow and fast movement were distinguished, and rapid (1.2 μm/s) saltatory transport of patches along cables was observed. Actin cables accumulated and subsequently condensed into actin rings associated with septum formation. F-actin organization was markedly different in the tip regions of mature hyphae and in germ tubes. Only mature hyphae displayed a subapical collar of actin patches and a concentration of F-actin within the core of the Spitzenkörper. Coexpression of Lifeact-TagRFP and β-tubulin–GFP revealed distinct but interrelated localization patterns of F-actin and microtubules during the initiation and maintenance of tip growth.
PMCID: PMC2863416  PMID: 20139238
23.  Roles of type II myosin and a tropomyosin isoform in retrograde actin flow in budding yeast 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2006;175(6):957-969.
Retrograde flow of cortical actin networks and bundles is essential for cell motility and retrograde intracellular movement, and for the formation and maintenance of microvilli, stereocilia, and filopodia. Actin cables, which are F-actin bundles that serve as tracks for anterograde and retrograde cargo movement in budding yeast, undergo retrograde flow that is driven, in part, by actin polymerization and assembly. We find that the actin cable retrograde flow rate is reduced by deletion or delocalization of the type II myosin Myo1p, and by deletion or conditional mutation of the Myo1p motor domain. Deletion of the tropomyosin isoform Tpm2p, but not the Tpm1p isoform, increases the rate of actin cable retrograde flow. Pretreatment of F-actin with Tpm2p, but not Tpm1p, inhibits Myo1p binding to F-actin and Myo1p-dependent F-actin gliding. These data support novel, opposing roles of Myo1p and Tpm2 in regulating retrograde actin flow in budding yeast and an isoform-specific function of Tpm1p in promoting actin cable function in myosin-driven anterograde cargo transport.
PMCID: PMC2064705  PMID: 17178912
24.  Cdc50p, a Conserved Endosomal Membrane Protein, Controls Polarized Growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2003;14(2):730-747.
During the cell cycle of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the actin cytoskeleton and the growth of cell surface are polarized, mediating bud emergence, bud growth, and cytokinesis. We identified CDC50 as a multicopy suppressor of the myo3 myo5-360 temperature-sensitive mutant, which is defective in organization of cortical actin patches. The cdc50 null mutant showed cold-sensitive cell cycle arrest with a small bud as reported previously. Cortical actin patches and Myo5p, which are normally localized to polarization sites, were depolarized in the cdc50 mutant. Furthermore, actin cables disappeared, and Bni1p and Gic1p, effectors of the Cdc42p small GTPase, were mislocalized in the cdc50 mutant. As predicted by its amino acid sequence, Cdc50p appears to be a transmembrane protein because it was solubilized from the membranes by detergent treatment. Cdc50p colocalized with Vps21p in endosomal compartments and was also localized to the class E compartment in the vps27 mutant. The cdc50 mutant showed defects in a late stage of endocytosis but not in the internalization step. It showed, however, only modest defects in vacuolar protein sorting. Our results indicate that Cdc50p is a novel endosomal protein that regulates polarized cell growth.
PMCID: PMC150004  PMID: 12589066
25.  From Function to Shape: A Novel Role of a Formin in Morphogenesis of the Fungus Ashbya gossypiiV⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(1):130-145.
Morphogenesis of filamentous ascomycetes includes continuously elongating hyphae, frequently emerging lateral branches, and, under certain circumstances, symmetrically dividing hyphal tips. We identified the formin AgBni1p of the model fungus Ashbya gossypii as an essential factor in these processes. AgBni1p is an essential protein apparently lacking functional overlaps with the two additional A. gossypii formins that are nonessential. Agbni1 null mutants fail to develop hyphae and instead expand to potato-shaped giant cells, which lack actin cables and thus tip-directed transport of secretory vesicles. Consistent with the essential role in hyphal development, AgBni1p locates to tips, but not to septa. The presence of a diaphanous autoregulatory domain (DAD) indicates that the activation of AgBni1p depends on Rho-type GTPases. Deletion of this domain, which should render AgBni1p constitutively active, completely changes the branching pattern of young hyphae. New axes of polarity are no longer established subapically (lateral branching) but by symmetric divisions of hyphal tips (tip splitting). In wild-type hyphae, tip splitting is induced much later and only at much higher elongation speed. When GTP-locked Rho-type GTPases were tested, only the young hyphae with mutated AgCdc42p split at their tips, similar to the DAD deletion mutant. Two-hybrid experiments confirmed that AgBni1p interacts with GTP-bound AgCdc42p. These data suggest a pathway for transforming one axis into two new axes of polar growth, in which an increased activation of AgBni1p by a pulse of activated AgCdc42p stimulates additional actin cable formation and tip-directed vesicle transport, thus enlarging and ultimately splitting the polarity site.
PMCID: PMC1345653  PMID: 16236798

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