The pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes is able to invade nonphagocytic cells, an essential feature for its pathogenicity. This induced phagocytosis process requires tightly regulated steps of actin polymerization and depolymerization. Here, we investigated how interactions of the invasion protein InlB with mammalian cells control the cytoskeleton during Listeria internalization. By fluorescence microscopy and transfection experiments, we show that the actin-nucleating Arp2/3 complex, the GTPase Rac, LIM kinase (LIMK), and cofilin are key proteins in InlB-induced phagocytosis. Overexpression of LIMK1, which has been shown to phosphorylate and inactivate cofilin, induces accumulation of F-actin beneath entering particles and inhibits internalization. Conversely, inhibition of LIMK's activity by expressing a dominant negative construct, LIMK1−, or expression of the constitutively active S3A cofilin mutant induces loss of actin filaments at the phagocytic cup and also inhibits phagocytosis. Interestingly, those constructs similarly affect other actin-based phenomenons, such as InlB-induced membrane ruffling or Listeria comet tail formations. Thus, our data provide evidence for a control of phagocytosis by both activation and deactivation of cofilin. We propose a model in which cofilin is involved in the formation and disruption of the phagocytic cup as a result of its local progressive enrichment.
Listeria monocytogenes; cytoskeleton; Met; InlB; actin-based motility
Leading cells require LIMK for matrix degradation and invadopodia formation during collective cell migration.
LIM kinases 1 and 2 (LIMK1/2) are centrally positioned regulators of actin cytoskeleton dynamics. Using siRNA-mediated knockdown or a novel small molecule inhibitor, we show LIMK is required for path generation by leading tumor cells and nontumor stromal cells during collective tumor cell invasion. LIMK inhibition lowers cofilin phosphorylation, F-actin levels, serum response factor transcriptional activity and collagen contraction, and reduces invasion in three-dimensional invasion assays. Although motility was unaffected, LIMK inhibition impairs matrix protein degradation and invadopodia formation associated with significantly faster recovery times in FRAP assays indicative of reduced F-actin stability. When LIMK is knocked down in MDA-MB-231 cells, they lose the ability to lead strands of collectively invading cells. Similarly, when LIMK activity is blocked in cancer-associated fibroblasts, they are unable to lead the collective invasion of squamous carcinoma cells in an organotypic skin model. These results show that LIMK is required for matrix remodeling activities for path generation by leading cells in collective invasion.
The polarity protein Par-3 plays critical roles in axon specification and the establishment of epithelial apico-basal polarity. Par-3 associates with Par-6 and atypical protein kinase C and is required for the proper assembly of tight junctions, but the molecular basis for its functions is poorly understood. We now report that depletion of Par-3 elevates the phosphorylated pool of cofilin, a key regulator of actin dynamics. Expression of a nonphosphorylatable mutant of cofilin partially rescues tight junction assembly in cells lacking Par-3, as does the depletion of LIM kinase 2 (LIMK2), an upstream kinase for cofilin. Par-3 binds to LIMK2 but not to the related kinase LIMK1. Par-3 inhibits LIMK2 activity in vitro, and overexpressed Par-3 suppresses cofilin phosphorylation that is induced by lysophosphatidic acid. Our findings identify LIMK2 as a novel target of Par-3 and uncover a molecular mechanism by which Par-3 could regulate actin dynamics during cell polarization.
Nischarin is a novel protein that regulates cell migration by inhibiting p21-activated kinase (PAK). LIM kinase (LIMK) is a downstream effector of PAK, and it is known to play an important role in cell invasion. Here we show that nischarin also associates with LIMK to inhibit LIMK activation, cofilin phosphorylation, and LIMK-mediated invasion of breast cancer cells, suggesting that nischarin regulates cell invasion by negative modulation of the LIMK/cofilin pathway. The amino terminus of nischarin binds to the PDZ and kinase domains of LIMK. Although LIMK activation enhances the interaction with nischarin, only phosphorylation of threonine 508 of LIMK is crucial for the interaction. Inhibition of endogenous nischarin expression by RNA interference stimulates breast cancer cell invasion. Also, nischarin small interfering RNA (siRNA) enhances cofilin phosphorylation. In addition, knock-down of nischarin showed branched projection actin structures. Collectively these data indicate that nischarin siRNA may enhance random migration, resulting in stimulation of invasion.
LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1), a LIM domain containing serine/threonine kinase, modulates actin dynamics through inactivation of the actin depolymerizing protein cofilin. Recent studies have indicated an important role of LIMK1 in growth and invasion of prostate and breast cancer cells; however, the molecular mechanism whereby LIMK1 induces tumor progression is unknown. In this study, we investigated the effects of ectopic expression of LIMK1 on cellular morphology, cell cycle progression and expression profile of LIMK1 in prostate tumors.
Ectopic expression of LIMK1 in benign prostatic hyperplasia cells (BPH), which naturally express low levels of LIMK1, resulted in appearance of abnormal mitotic spindles, multiple centrosomes and smaller chromosomal masses. Furthermore, a transient G1/S phase arrest and delayed G2/M progression was observed in BPH cells expressing LIMK1. When treated with chemotherapeutic agent Taxol, no metaphase arrest was noted in these cells. We have also noted increased nuclear staining of LIMK1 in tumors with higher Gleason Scores and incidence of metastasis.
Our results show that increased expression of LIMK1 results in chromosomal abnormalities, aberrant cell cycle progression and alteration of normal cellular response to microtubule stabilizing agent Taxol; and that LIMK1 expression may be associated with cancerous phenotype of the prostate.
Microtubule (MT) destabilization promotes the formation of actin stress fibers and enhances the contractility of cells, however, mechanism involved in the coordinated regulation of MTs and the actin cytoskeleton is poorly understood. LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) regulates actin polymerization by phosphorylating the actin depolymerization factor (ADF), cofilin. Here we report that LIMK1 is also involved in the MTs destabilization. In endothelial cells, endogenous LIMK1 co-localizes with MTs and forms a complex with tubulin via PDZ domain. MTs destabilization induced by thrombin or nocodazole resulted in decrease of LIMK1 colocalization with MTs. Overexpression of wild type LIMK1 resulted in MTs destabilization whereas kinase-dead mutant of LIMK1 (KD) did not affect MTs stability. Importantly, downregulation of endogenous LIMK1 by siRNA resulted in abrogation of the thrombin-induced MTs destabilization and the inhibition of thrombin-induced actin polymerization. Expression of ROCK2, which phosphorylates and activates LIMK1, decreases dramatically the interaction of LIMK1 with tubulin but increases its interaction with actin. Interestingly, expression of KD- or siRNA-LIMK1 prevents thrombin induced microtubule destabilization and Factin formation suggesting that LIMK1 activity is required for thrombin-induced modulation of microtubule destabilization and actin polymerization. Our findings indicate that LIMK1 may coordinate microtubules and actin cytoskeleton.
LIMK1, LIMK-domain-containing kinase 1; ROCK2, Rho kinase 2; ADF, actin depolymerization factor ; PAK, p21 activated kinases; HUVEC, human umbilical vein endothelial cells; MAPs, microtubule-associated proteins; GEF, guanine nucleotide exchange factor; HBSS, Hank’s balanced salt solution; PBS, phosphate buffered saline; BSA, bovine serum albumin; GST, glutathione S-transferase
The functions of the actin cytoskeleton in post-Golgi trafficking are still poorly understood. Here, we report the role of LIM Kinase 1 (LIMK1) and its substrate cofilin in the trafficking of apical and basolateral proteins in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells. Our data indicate that LIMK1 and cofilin organize a specialized population of actin filaments at the Golgi complex that is selectively required for the emergence of an apical cargo route to the plasma membrane (PM). Quantitative pulse-chase live imaging experiments showed that overexpression of kinase-dead LIMK1 (LIMK1-KD), or of LIMK1 small interfering RNA, or of an activated cofilin mutant (cofilin S3A), selectively slowed down the exit from the trans-Golgi network (TGN) of the apical PM marker p75-green fluorescent protein (GFP) but did not interfere with the apical PM marker glycosyl phosphatidylinositol-YFP or the basolateral PM marker neural cell adhesion molecule-GFP. High-resolution live imaging experiments of carrier formation and release by the TGN and analysis of peri-Golgi actin dynamics using photoactivatable GFP suggest a scenario in which TGN-localized LIMK1-cofilin regulate a population of actin filaments required for dynamin-syndapin-cortactin–dependent generation and/or fission of precursors to p75 transporters.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate multiple cellular processes, including cell differentiation and migration. Their signals are transduced by the kinase receptors BMPR-I and BMPR-II, leading to Smad transcription factor activation via BMPR-I. LIM kinase (LIMK) 1 is a key regulator of actin dynamics as it phosphorylates and inactivates cofilin, an actin depolymerizing factor. During a search for LIMK1-interacting proteins, we isolated clones encompassing the tail region of BMPR-II. Although the BMPR-II tail is not involved in BMP signaling via Smad proteins, mutations truncating this domain are present in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH). Further analysis revealed that the interaction between LIMK1 and BMPR-II inhibited LIMK1's ability to phosphorylate cofilin, which could then be alleviated by addition of BMP4. A BMPR-II mutant containing the smallest COOH-terminal truncation described in PPH failed to bind or inhibit LIMK1. This study identifies the first function of the BMPR-II tail domain and suggests that the deregulation of actin dynamics may contribute to the etiology of PPH.
LIM kinase 1; BMPR-II; cytoskeleton; F-actin; cofilin
In vitro studies have identified LIMK2 as a key downstream effector of Rho GTPase-induced changes in cytoskeletal organization. LIMK2 is phosphorylated and activated by Rho associated coiled-coil kinases (ROCKs) in response to a variety of growth factors. The biochemical targets of LIMK2 belong to a family of actin binding proteins that are potent modulators of actin assembly and disassembly. Although numerous studies have suggested that LIMK2 regulates cell morphology and motility, evidence supportive of these functions in vivo has remained elusive. In this study, a knockout mouse was created that abolished LIMK2 biochemical activity resulting in a profound inhibition of epithelial sheet migration during eyelid development. In the absence of LIMK2, nascent eyelid keratinocytes differentiate and acquire a pre-migratory phenotype but the leading cells fail to nucleate filamentous actin and remain immobile causing an eyes open at birth (EOB) phenotype. The failed nucleation of actin was associated with significant reductions in phosphorylated cofilin, a major LIMK2 biochemical substrate and potent modulator of actin dynamics. These results demonstrate that LIMK2 activity is required for keratinocyte migration in the developing eyelid.
Aurora kinase A (Aur-A), a mitotic kinase, regulates initiation of mitosis through centrosome separation and proper assembly of bipolar spindles. LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1), a modulator of actin and microtubule dynamics, is involved in the mitotic process through inactivating phosphorylation of cofilin. Phosphorylated LIMK1 is recruited to the centrosomes during early prophase, where it colocalizes with γ-tubulin. Here, we report a novel functional cooperativity between Aur-A and LIMK1 through mutual phosphorylation. LIMK1 is recruited to the centrosomes during early prophase and then to the spindle poles, where it colocalizes with Aur-A. Aur-A physically associates with LIMK1 and activates it through phosphorylation, which is important for its centrosomal and spindle pole localization. Aur-A also acts as a substrate of LIMK1, and the function of LIMK1 is important for its specific localization and regulation of spindle morphology. Taken together, the novel molecular interaction between these two kinases and their regulatory roles on one other's function may provide new insight on the role of Aur-A in manipulation of actin and microtubular structures during spindle formation.
LIMK1; Aurora A; mitotic spindle; phosphorylation
The cytoskeleton determines cell shape and is involved in cell motility. It also plays a role in differentiation and in modulating specialized cellular functions. LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) participates in cytoskeletal remodeling by phosphorylating and inactivating the actin-severing protein, cofilin. Severing F-actin to release G-actin monomers is required for actin cytoskeletal remodeling. Although less well established, LIMK1 may also influence the cell cycle and modulate metalloproteinase activity. Since the role of LIMK1 in bone cell biology has not been reported, the skeletal phenotype of LIMK1−/− mice was examined. LIMK1−/− mice had significantly reduced trabecular bone mass when analyzed by micoCT (p <0.01). Histomorphometric analyses demonstrated a 31% reduction in the number osteoblasts (p=0.0003) and a 23% reduction in osteoid surface (p=0.0005). The number of osteoclasts was no different in control and knock out animals. Consistent with the in vivo findings in osteoblasts, the number of osteoblast colony forming units in LIMK1−/− bone marrow was reduced by nearly 50%. Further, osteoblasts isolated from LIMK1−/− mice showed significantly reduced rates of mineralization in vitro. Osteoclasts from LIMK1−/− mice evidenced more rapid cytoskeletal remodeling in response to treatment with CSF1. In keeping with this latter finding, basal levels of phospho-cofilin were reduced in LIMK1−/− osteoclasts. LIMK1−/− osteoclasts also resorbed dentine slices to a greater extent in vitro and were more active in a pit assay. These data support the hypothesis that LIMK1 is required for normal osteoblast differentiation. In addition, its absence leads to increased cytoskeletal remodeling and bone resorption in osteoclasts.
osteopenia; LIM kinase 1; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; CSF1
Understanding the mechanisms controlling cancer cell invasion and metastasis constitutes a fundamental step in setting new strategies for diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy of metastatic cancers. LIM kinase1 (LIMK1) is a member of a novel class of serine–threonine protein kinases. Cofilin, a LIMK1 substrate, is essential for the regulation of actin polymerization and depolymerization during cell migration. Previous studies have made opposite conclusions as to the role of LIMK1 in tumor cell motility and metastasis, claiming either an increase or decrease in cell motility and metastasis as a result of LIMK1 over expression (Zebda, N., O. Bernard, M. Bailly, S. Welti, D.S. Lawrence, and J.S. Condeelis. 2000. J. Cell Biol. 151:1119–1128; Davila, M., A.R. Frost, W.E. Grizzle, and R. Chakrabarti. 2003. J. Biol. Chem. 278:36868–36875; Yoshioka, K., V. Foletta, O. Bernard, and K. Itoh. 2003. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 100:7247–7252; Nishita, M., C. Tomizawa, M. Yamamoto, Y. Horita, K. Ohashi, and K. Mizuno. 2005. J. Cell Biol. 171:349–359). We resolve this paradox by showing that the effects of LIMK1 expression on migration, intravasation, and metastasis of cancer cells can be most simply explained by its regulation of the output of the cofilin pathway. LIMK1-mediated decreases or increases in the activity of the cofilin pathway are shown to cause proportional decreases or increases in motility, intravasation, and metastasis of tumor cells.
LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) is expressed in both cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments, and is a key regulator of cytoskeletal organization involved in cell migration and proliferation. LIMK1 levels are increased in several human cancers, with LIMK1 over-expression in prostate and breast cancer cells leading to tumor progression. While it has been presumed that the mechanism by which LIMK1 promotes cancer progression is via its cytoplasmic effects, the role of nuclear vs cytoplasmic LIMK1 in the tumorigenic process has not been examined.
To determine if cytoplasmic or nuclear LIMK1 expression correlated with breast cancer, we performed immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis of breast tissue microarrays (TMAs), The IHC analysis of breast TMAs revealed that 76% of malignant breast tissue samples strongly expressed LIMK1 in the cytoplasm, with 52% of these specimens also expressing nuclear LIMK1. Only 48% of benign breast samples displayed strong cytoplasmic LIMK1 expression and 27% of these expressed nuclear LIMK1. To investigate the respective roles of cytoplamsic and nuclear LIMK1 in breast cancer progression, we targeted GFP-LIMK1 to cytoplasmic and nuclear subcellular compartments by fusing nuclear export signals (NESs) or nuclear localization sequences (NLS), respectively, to the amino-terminus of GFP-LIMK1. Stable pools of MDA-MB-231 cells were generated by retroviral transduction, and fluorescence microscopy revealed that GFP alone (control) and GFP-LIMK1 were each expressed in both the cytoplasm and nucleus of MDA-MB-231 cells, whereas NLS-GFP-LIMK1 was expressed in the nucleus and NES-GFP-LIMK1 was expressed in the cytoplasm. Western blot analyses revealed equal expression of GFP-LIMK1 and NES-GFP-LIMK1, with NLS-GFP-LIMK1 expression being less but equal to endogenous LIMK1. Also, Western blotting revealed increased levels of phospho-cofilin, phospho-FAK, phospho-paxillin, phospho-Src, phospho-AKT, and phospho-Erk1/2 in cells expressing all GFP-LIMK1 fusions, compared to GFP alone. Invasion assays revealed that all GFP-LIMK1 fusions increased MDA-MB-231 cell invasion ~1.5-fold, compared to GFP-only control cells. Tumor xenograft studies in nude mice revealed that MDA-MB-231 cells stably expressing GFP-LIMK, NLS-GFP-LIMK1 and NES-GFP-LIMK1 enhanced tumor growth 2.5-, 1.6- and 4.7-fold, respectively, compared to GFP-alone.
Taken together, these data demonstrate that LIMK1 activity in both the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments promotes breast cancer progression, underscoring that nuclear LIMK1 contributes to the transforming function of LIMK1.
The rapid turnover of actin filaments and the tertiary meshwork formation are regulated by a variety of actin-binding proteins. Protein phosphorylation of cofilin, an actin-binding protein that depolymerizes actin filaments, suppresses its function. Thus, cofilin is a terminal effector of signaling cascades that evokes actin cytoskeletal rearrangement. When wild-type LIMK2 and kinase-dead LIMK2 (LIMK2/KD) were respectively expressed in cells, LIMK2, but not LIMK2/KD, phosphorylated cofilin and induced formation of stress fibers and focal complexes. LIMK2 activity toward cofilin phosphorylation was stimulated by coexpression of activated Rho and Cdc42, but not Rac. Importantly, expression of activated Rho and Cdc42, respectively, induced stress fibers and filopodia, whereas both Rho- induced stress fibers and Cdc42-induced filopodia were abrogated by the coexpression of LIMK2/KD. In contrast, the coexpression of LIMK2/KD with the activated Rac did not affect Rac-induced lamellipodia formation. These results indicate that LIMK2 plays a crucial role both in Rho- and Cdc42-induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization, at least in part by inhibiting the functions of cofilin. Together with recent findings that LIMK1 participates in Rac-induced lamellipodia formation, LIMK1 and LIMK2 function under control of distinct Rho subfamily GTPases and are essential regulators in the Rho subfamilies-induced actin cytoskeletal reorganization.
cytoskeleton; actin depolymerization; LIM-kinase; Rho family GTPases; stress fibers
Stromal cell-derived factor 1 α (SDF-1α), the ligand for G-protein-coupled receptor CXCR4, is a chemotactic factor for T lymphocytes. LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) phosphorylates cofilin, an actin-depolymerizing and -severing protein, at Ser-3 and regulates actin reorganization. We investigated the role of cofilin phosphorylation by LIMK1 in SDF-1α-induced chemotaxis of T lymphocytes. SDF-1α significantly induced the activation of LIMK1 in Jurkat human leukemic T cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes. SDF-1α also induced cofilin phosphorylation, actin reorganization, and activation of small GTPases, Rho, Rac, and Cdc42, in Jurkat cells. Pretreatment with pertussis toxin inhibited SDF-1α-induced LIMK1 activation, thus indicating that Gi protein is involved in LIMK1 activation. Expression of dominant negative Rac (DN-Rac), but not DN-Rho or DN-Cdc42, blocked SDF-1α-induced activation of LIMK1, which means that SDF-1α-induced LIMK1 activation is mediated by Rac but not by Rho or Cdc42. We used a cell-permeable peptide (S3 peptide) that contains the phosphorylation site (Ser-3) of cofilin to inhibit the cellular function of LIMK1. S3 peptide inhibited the kinase activity of LIMK1 in vitro. Treatment of Jurkat cells with S3 peptide inhibited the SDF-1α-induced cofilin phosphorylation, actin reorganization, and chemotactic response of Jurkat cells. These results suggest that the phosphorylation of cofilin by LIMK1 plays a critical role in the SDF-1α-induced chemotactic response of T lymphocytes.
We present evidence that LIM kinases can control cell adhesion and compaction in human epidermis. LIMK2 is expressed in the epidermal basal layer and signals downstream of the GTPase Rac1 to promote extracellular matrix adhesion and inhibit terminal differentiation. Conversely, LIMK1 is expressed in the upper granular layers and phosphorylates and inhibits cofilin. Expression of LIMK1 is lost in psoriatic lesions and other skin disorders characterized by lack of cell compaction in the differentiating cell layers. In psoriatic lesions down-regulation of LIMK1 correlates with up-regulation of Myc. Expression of constitutively active cofilin or Myc in reconstituted human epidermis blocks cell compaction. Overexpression of LIMK1 leads to down-regulation of Myc, whereas inhibition of Rho kinase, an upstream activator of LIMK1, stimulates Myc expression. Inhibition of Myc by LIMK1 is via inhibition of Stat3 phosphorylation, because constitutively active cofilin or inhibition of Rho kinase results in Stat3 phosphorylation and increased Myc levels, whereas dominant negative Stat3 abolishes the effect. In conclusion, we have uncovered a novel antagonistic relationship between the LIMK1/phosphocofilin and Myc/Stat3 pathways in the differentiating layers of human epidermis and propose that down-regulation of LIMK1 contributes to one of the pathological features of psoriatic epidermal lesions.
Cofilin mediates lamellipodium extension and polarized cell migration by accelerating actin filament dynamics at the leading edge of migrating cells. Cofilin is inactivated by LIM kinase (LIMK)–1-mediated phosphorylation and is reactivated by cofilin phosphatase Slingshot (SSH)-1L. In this study, we show that cofilin activity is temporally and spatially regulated by LIMK1 and SSH1L in chemokine-stimulated Jurkat T cells. The knockdown of LIMK1 suppressed chemokine-induced lamellipodium formation and cell migration, whereas SSH1L knockdown produced and retained multiple lamellipodial protrusions around the cell after cell stimulation and impaired directional cell migration. Our results indicate that LIMK1 is required for cell migration by stimulating lamellipodium formation in the initial stages of cell response and that SSH1L is crucially involved in directional cell migration by restricting the membrane protrusion to one direction and locally stimulating cofilin activity in the lamellipodium in the front of the migrating cell. We propose that LIMK1- and SSH1L-mediated spatiotemporal regulation of cofilin activity is critical for chemokine-induced polarized lamellipodium formation and directional cell movement.
Neurofibromin regulates cell motility via three distinct GTPase pathways acting through two different domains, the Ras GTPase-activating protein-related domain (GRD) and the pre-GRD domain. First, the GRD domain inhibits Ras-dependent changes in cell motility through the mitogen activated protein cascade. Second, it also regulates Rho-dependent (Ras-independent) changes by activating LIM kinase 2 (LIMK2), an enzyme that phosphorylates and inactivates cofilin (an actin-depolymerizing factor). Third, the pre-GRD domain acts through the Rac1 GTPase, that activate the P21 activated kinase 1 (PAK1)-LIMK1-cofilin pathway. We employed molecular modeling to identify a novel inhibitor of LIMK1/2. The active sites of an ephrin-A receptor (EphA3) and LIMK2 showed marked similarity (60%). On testing a known inhibitor of EphA3, we found that it fits to the LIMK1/2-ATP binding site and to the latter's substrate-binding pockets. We identified a similar compound, T56-LIMKi, and found that it inhibits LIMK1/2 kinase activities. It blocked the phosphorylation of cofilin which led to actin severance and inhibition of tumor cell migration, tumor cell growth, and anchorage-independent colony formation in soft agar. Because modulation of LIMK by neurofibromin is not affected by the Ras inhibitor Salirasib, we examined the combined effect of Salirasib and T56-LIMKi each of which can affect cell motility by a distinct pathway. We found that their combined action on cell proliferation and stress-fiber formation in neurofibromin-deficient cells was synergistic. We suggest that this drug combination may be developed for treatment of neurofibromatosis and cancer.
Cofilin; Ras; Rac; Rho; LIMK
The ovarian hormone estrogen increases the axospinous synapse density in the hippocampal CA1 region of young female rats but fails to do so in aged rats. This estrogen-mediated alteration of spine synapse structures suggests the coincident requirement for the structural reorganization of the underlying actin cytoskeleton network. Actin reorganization is known to require the deactivation of Cofilin, an actin depolymerization factor. Cofilin is deactivated by LIM Kinase (LIMK), and LIMK activity is modulated by the phosphorylation of specific residues. We have previously demonstrated that estrogen is able to increase phosphorylated LIMK (pLIMK) immunoreactivity (IR) in the hippocampus in vivo and that this estrogen-stimulated pLIMK-IR is decreased in the aged brain. Because Cofilin phosphorylation allows for actin filament elongation and spine synapse growth, we sought to determine if estrogen acts through Cofilin and if such estrogen action requires the observed LIMK activity. Using both hippocampal neurons and the NG108-15 neuroblastoma cell line, we demonstrate here that estrogen stimulates the phosphorylation of Cofilin in vitro. Furthermore, this estrogen action on Cofilin requires LIMK. Lastly, while initiating the phosphorylation of LIMK and Cofilin, estrogen can also stimulate the formation of filopodial extensions, an early step in the formation of nascent spines, demonstrating that estrogen can alter the actin-dependent neuronal morphology. This linkage of estrogen communication to Cofilin via LIMK provides the functionality to the age-sensitive pLIMK-IR that we have observed in vivo.
The central arbiter of cell fate in response to DNA damage is p53, which regulates the expression of genes involved in cell cycle arrest, survival and apoptosis. Although many responses initiated by DNA damage have been characterized, the role of actin cytoskeleton regulators is largely unknown. We now show that RhoC and LIM kinase 2 (LIMK2) are direct p53 target genes induced by genotoxic agents. Although RhoC and LIMK2 have well-established roles in actin cytoskeleton regulation, our results indicate that activation of LIMK2 also has a pro-survival function following DNA damage. LIMK inhibition by siRNA-mediated knockdown or selective pharmacological blockade sensitized cells to radio- or chemotherapy, such that treatments that were sub-lethal when administered singly resulted in cell death when combined with LIMK inhibition. Our findings suggest that combining LIMK inhibitors with genotoxic therapies could be more efficacious than single-agent administration, and highlight a novel connection between actin cytoskeleton regulators and DNA damage-induced cell survival mechanisms.
LIMK; RhoC; p53; DNA damage; actin; cofilin; cytoskeleton
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
The spread of tumor cells from primary sites often occurs as associated cell collectives. In this form of invasion, the contribution of cells leading the way may differ from those that follow. By implication, proteins that regulate the actin cytoskeleton, a major driver of cell motility, may have different roles depending on whether they are in leading or following cells. The LIM kinases 1 and 2 (LIMK) phosphorylate and inactivate the filamentous actin severing function of cofilin proteins. Using siRNA or pharmacological inhibitors, LIMK was found to be required in leading cells of collectively invading tumor cells, or in cancer-associated stromal fibroblasts, for effective extracellular matrix degradation that facilitates three-dimensional invasion. The decreased extracellular matrix degrading activities were associated with an inability to form the stable filamentous actin structures necessary to make matrix-degrading protrusive structures. However, LIMK was not required for cell motility or for path-following in associated collectives. These findings show that leading and following cells in collective invasion have different properties and indicate that targeting the activities in leading cells is sufficient to significantly inhibit tumor cell invasiveness.
actin; LIMK; motility; invasion; metastasis; Rho; cofilin
The purpose of this study was to determine if downregulation of LIM kinase 1 (LIMK1) by genetic deletion or direct application of LIMK1-targeted siRNA could suppress TGF-β mediated ocular inflammation and fibrosis.
LIMK1 specific siRNAs designed from the human sequence were transfected into human corneal fibroblasts in culture. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting were performed to examine the fibronectin assembly. The effects of LIMK1 downregulation on actin cytoskeleton organization and focal adhesion formation were studied. A wound closure assay was used to assess cell migration in in vitro fibroblast cultures. The in vivo effects of LIMK1 genetic deletion or downregulation by mouse siRNA were evaluated in a mouse model of ocular inflammation generated by subconjunctival injection of phosphate buffered saline and latex beads. Cellularity on tissue sections was examined after staining with hematoxylin and eosin. Anti-CD45 antibody was used for the leukocyte detection.
Downregulation of LIMK1 in cultured corneal fibroblasts impaired fibronectin secretion and assembly, diminished actin polymerization and focal adhesion formation, and retarded cell migration. In the mouse model of ocular inflammation, both genetic deletion and downregulation of LIMK1 by siRNA significantly reduced inflammatory response.
Downregulation of LIMK1 was efficacious to decrease the ocular inflammation. We disclose a possibility that LIMK1 may mediate TGF-β-dependent signaling during ocular inflammation. A direct application of siRNA into eyes to downregulate LIMK1 expression may provide a novel therapy for suppression and prevention of ocular inflammation and fibrosis.
Myelination is a complex process requiring coordination of directional motility and an increase in glial cell size to generate a multilamellar myelin sheath. Regulation of actin dynamics during myelination is poorly understood. However, it is known that myelin thickness is related to the abundance of neuregulin-1 (NRG1) expressed on the axon surface. Here we identify cofilin1, an actin depolymerizing and severing protein, as a downstream target of NRG1 signaling in rat Schwann cells (SCs). In isolated SCs, NRG1 promotes dephosphorylation of cofilin1 and its upstream regulators, LIM kinase (LIMK) and Slingshot-1 phosphatase (SSH1), leading to cofilin1 activation and recruitment to the leading edge of the plasma membrane. These changes are associated with rapid membrane expansion yielding a 35–50% increase in SC size within 30 min. Cofilin1-deficient SCs increase phosphorylation of ErbB2, ERK, focal adhesion kinase, and paxillin in response to NRG1, but fail to increase in size possibly due to stabilization of unusually long focal adhesions. Cofilin1-deficient SCs cocultured with sensory neurons do not myelinate. Ultrastructural analysis reveals that they unsuccessfully segregate or engage axons and form only patchy basal lamina. After 48 h of coculturing with neurons, cofilin1-deficient SCs do not align or elongate on axons and often form adhesions with the underlying substrate. This study identifies cofilin1 and its upstream regulators, LIMK and SSH1, as end targets of a NRG1 signaling pathway and demonstrates that cofilin1 is necessary for dynamic changes in the cytoskeleton needed for axon engagement and myelination by SCs.
Chemokine binding to cognate receptors induces actin dynamics that are a major driving force for T cell migration and chemotactic motility. HIV-1 binding to the chemokine coreceptor CXCR4 initiates chemotactic signaling, mimicking chemokine-induced actin dynamics to facilitate infection processes such as entry, early DNA synthesis, and nuclear migration. Recently, we identified that HIV-triggered early actin polymerization is mediated through the Rac1-PAK1/2-LIMK1-cofilin pathway. Inhibition of LIMK1 (LIM domain kinase 1), a kinase phosphorylating cofilin, through shRNA knockdown decreases actin polymerization and T cell chemotaxis toward SDF-1. The LIMK1 knockdown T cells also supported lower viral entry, DNA synthesis and nuclear migration, suggesting a critical role of LIMK1-mediated actin dynamics in the initiation of HIV-1 infection. Surprisingly, LIMK1 knockdown in CEM-SS T cells did not lead to an overall change in the ratio of phospho-cofilin to total cofilin although there was a measurable decrease in the amount of actin filaments in cells. The decrease in filamentous actin in LIMK1 knockdown cells was found to mainly occur in polarized cap region rich in F-actin. These results suggest that LIMK1 may be involved in spontaneous actin polarization in transformed T cells. The inhibition of T cell chemotaxis by LIMK1 knockdown likely result from inhibition of localized LIMK1 activation and cofilin phosphorylation that are required for polarized actin polymerization for directional cell migration. The inhibition of HIV-1 infection by LIMK1 knockdown may also result from the decrease of actin-rich membrane protrusions that may be preferred viral entry sites in T cells.
LIMK1; cofilin; chemotaxis; SDF-1; CXCR4; HIV-1; CD4 T cells; Rac1; Pak1; Pak2