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1.  Yeast Cdc42 functions at a late step in exocytosis, specifically during polarized growth of the emerging bud 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;155(4):581-592.
The Rho family GTPase Cdc42 is a key regulator of cell polarity and cytoskeletal organization in eukaryotic cells. In yeast, the role of Cdc42 in polarization of cell growth includes polarization of the actin cytoskeleton, which delivers secretory vesicles to growth sites at the plasma membrane. We now describe a novel temperature-sensitive mutant, cdc42-6, that reveals a role for Cdc42 in docking and fusion of secretory vesicles that is independent of its role in actin polarization. cdc42-6 mutants can polarize actin and deliver secretory vesicles to the bud, but fail to fuse those vesicles with the plasma membrane. This defect is manifested only during the early stages of bud formation when growth is most highly polarized, and appears to reflect a requirement for Cdc42 to maintain maximally active exocytic machinery at sites of high vesicle throughput. Extensive genetic interactions between cdc42-6 and mutations in exocytic components support this hypothesis, and indicate a functional overlap with Rho3, which also regulates both actin organization and exocytosis. Localization data suggest that the defect in cdc42-6 cells is not at the level of the localization of the exocytic apparatus. Rather, we suggest that Cdc42 acts as an allosteric regulator of the vesicle docking and fusion apparatus to provide maximal function at sites of polarized growth.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200106065
PMCID: PMC2198861  PMID: 11706050
Cdc42; Rho; GTPases; exocytosis; cell polarity
2.  Regulation of RhoGTPase crosstalk, degradation and activity by RhoGDI1 
Nature cell biology  2010;12(5):477-483.
At steady state, most Rho GTPases are bound in the cytosol to Rho Guanine nucleotide Dissociation Inhibitors (RhoGDI) 1. RhoGDIs have generally been considered to passively hold Rho proteins in an inactive state within the cytoplasm. Here we describe an evolutionarily conserved mechanism by which RhoGDI1 controls the homeostasis of Rho proteins in eukaryotic cells. We found that depletion of RhoGDI1 promotes misfolding and degradation of the cytosolic geranylgeranylated pool of Rho GTPases while unexpectedly activating the remaining membrane-bound fraction. Since RhoGDI1 levels are limiting, and Rho proteins compete for binding to RhoGDI1, overexpression of an exogenous Rho GTPase displaces endogenous Rho proteins bound to RhoGDI1, inducing their degradation and inactivation. These results raise important questions about the conclusions drawn from studies that manipulate Rho protein levels. In many cases the response observed may arise not simply from the overexpression per se, but from additional effects on the levels and activity of other Rho GTPases due to competition for binding to RhoGDI1, and may require a re-evaluation of previously published studies that rely exclusively on these techniques.
doi:10.1038/ncb2049
PMCID: PMC2866742  PMID: 20400958
3.  Mammalian PAR-1 determines epithelial lumen polarity by organizing the microtubule cytoskeleton 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;164(5):717-727.
Epithelial differentiation involves the generation of luminal surfaces and of a noncentrosomal microtubule (MT) network aligned along the polarity axis. Columnar epithelia (e.g., kidney, intestine, and Madin-Darby canine kidney [MDCK] cells) generate apical lumina and orient MT vertically, whereas liver epithelial cells (hepatocytes and WIFB9 cells) generate lumina at cell–cell contact sites (bile canaliculi) and orient MTs horizontally. We report that knockdown or inhibition of the mammalian orthologue of Caenorhabditis elegans Par-1 (EMK1 and MARK2) during polarization of cultured MDCK and WIFB9 cells prevented development of their characteristic lumen and nonradial MT networks. Conversely, EMK1 overexpression induced the appearance of intercellular lumina and horizontal MT arrays in MDCK cells, making EMK1 the first known candidate to regulate the developmental branching decision between hepatic and columnar epithelial cells. Our experiments suggest that EMK1 primarily promotes reorganization of the MT network, consistent with the MT-regulating role of this gene product in other systems, which in turn controls lumen formation and position.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200308104
PMCID: PMC2172160  PMID: 14981097
EMK1; MARK2; MDCK; WIFB; apical surface
4.  Mammalian Homolog of Drosophila Tumor Suppressor Lethal (2) Giant Larvae Interacts with Basolateral Exocytic Machinery in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney Cells 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(1):158-168.
The Drosophila tumor suppressor protein lethal (2) giant larvae [l(2)gl] is involved in the establishment of epithelial cell polarity during development. Recently, a yeast homolog of the protein has been shown to interact with components of the post-Golgi exocytic machinery and to regulate a late step in protein secretion. Herein, we characterize a mammalian homolog of l(2)gl, called Mlgl, in the epithelial cell line Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK). Consistent with a role in cell polarity, Mlgl redistributes from a cytoplasmic localization to the lateral membrane after contact-naive MDCK cells make cell-cell contacts and establish a polarized phenotype. Phosphorylation within a highly conserved region of Mlgl is required to restrict the protein to the lateral domain, because a recombinant phospho-mutant is distributed in a nonpolar manner. Membrane-bound Mlgl from MDCK cell lysates was coimmunoprecipitated with syntaxin 4, a component of the exocytic machinery at the basolateral membrane, but not with other plasma membrane soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment receptor (SNARE) proteins that are either absent from or not restricted to the basolateral membrane domain. These data suggest that Mlgl contributes to apico-basolateral polarity by regulating basolateral exocytosis.
doi:10.1091/mbc.01-10-0496
PMCID: PMC65098  PMID: 11809830

Results 1-4 (4)