Genetic deletion of Rac1 GTPase reveals its critical role in actin stress fiber formation and focal adhesion complex assembly
ABSTRACT Rac1 is an intracellular signal transducer regulating a variety of cell functions. Previous studies by overexpression of dominant-negative or constitutively active mutants of Rac1 in clonal cell lines have established that Rac1 plays a key role in actin lamellipodia induction, cell-matrix adhesion, and cell anoikis. In the present studies, we have examined the cellular behaviors of Rac1 gene-targeted primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) after Cre recombinase-mediated deletion of Rac1 gene. Rac1-null MEFs became contracted and elongated in morphology and were defective in lamellipodia formation, cell spreading, cell-fibronectin adhesion, and focal contact formation in response to platelet-derived growth factor or serum. Unexpectedly, deletion of Rac1 also abolished actin stress fibers in the cells without detectable alteration of endogenous RhoA activity. Although the expression and/or activation status of focal adhesion complex components such as Src, FAK, and vinculin were not affected by Rac1 deletion, the number and size of adhesion plaques were significantly reduced, and the molecular complex between Src, FAK, and vinculin was dissembled in Rac1-null cells. Overexpression of an active RhoA mutant or ROK failed to rescue the stress fiber and adhesion plaque defects of the Rac1-null cells. Although Rac1 deletion caused a significant reduction in phospho-PAK1, -AKT, and -ERK under serum stimulation, reconstitution of active PAK1, but not AKT or MEK1, was able to rescue the actin cytoskeleton and adhesion phenotypes of the Rac1-deficient cells. Furthermore, Rac1 deletion led to a marked increase in spontaneous apoptosis that could be rescued by active PAK1, AKT, or MEK1 expression. Our results obtained from gene-targeted primary MEFs indicate that Rac1 is essential not only for lamellipodia induction but also for the RhoA-regulated actin stress fiber and focal adhesion complex formation and that Rac1 is involved in cell survival regulation through anoikis-dependent as well as -independent mechanisms.
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ABSTRACT: Pre-osteoblast adhesion and interaction with extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins through integrin receptors result in activation of signaling pathways regulating osteoblast differentiation. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2) is a matricellular protein secreted into the ECM. Prior studies in various cell types have shown that cell adhesion to CTGF via integrin receptors results in activation of specific signaling pathways that regulate cell functions, such as differentiation and cytoskeletal reorganization. To date, there are no studies that have examined whether CTGF can serve as an adhesive substrate for osteoblasts. In this study, we used the MC3T3-E1 cell line to demonstrate that CTGF serves as an adhesive matrix for osteoblasts. Anti-integrin blocking experiments and co-immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that the integrin αvβ1 plays a key role in osteoblast adhesion to a CTGF matrix. Immunofluorescence staining of osteoblasts cultured on a CTGF matrix confirmed actin cytoskeletal reorganization, enhanced spreading, formation of focal adhesions, and activation of Rac1. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining and activity assays, as well as Alizarin red staining demonstrated that osteoblast attachment to CTGF matrix enhanced maturation, bone nodule formation and matrix mineralization. To investigate whether the effect of CTGF on osteoblast differentiation involves integrin-mediated activation of specific signaling pathways, we performed Western blot, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and qPCR assays. Osteoblasts cultured on a CTGF matrix showed increased total and phosphorylated (activated) forms of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK). Inhibition of ERK blocked osteogenic differentiation in cells cultured on a CTGF matrix. There was an increase in runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) binding to the osteocalcin gene promoter, and in the expression of osteogenic markers regulated by Runx2. Collectively, the results of this study are the first to demonstrate CTGF serves as a suitable matrix protein, enhancing osteoblast adhesion (via αvβ1 integrin) and promoting cell spreading via cytoskeletal reorganization and Rac1 activation. Furthermore, integrin-mediated activation of ERK signaling resulted in increased osteoblast differentiation accompanied by an increase in Runx2 binding to the osteocalcin promoter and in the expression of osteogenic markers.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0115325. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115325 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is an important pathogen that causes food-borne gastroenteritis in humans. The type III secretion system encoded on chromosome 2 (T3SS2) plays a critical role in the enterotoxic activity of V. parahaemolyticus. Previous studies have demonstrated that T3SS2 induces actin stress fibers in various epithelial cell lines during infection. This stress fiber formation is strongly related to pathogenicity, but the mechanisms that underlie T3SS2-dependent actin stress fiber formation and the main effector have not been elucidated. In this study, we identified VopO as a critical T3SS2 effector protein that activates the RhoA-ROCK pathway, which is an essential pathway for the induction of the T3SS2-dependent stress fiber formation. We also determined that GEF-H1, a RhoA guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), directly binds VopO and is necessary for T3SS2-dependent stress fiber formation. The GEF-H1-binding activity of VopO via an alpha helix region correlated well with its stress fiber-inducing capacity. Furthermore, we showed that VopO is involved in the T3SS2-dependent disruption of the epithelial barrier. Thus, VopO hijacks the RhoA-ROCK pathway in a different manner compared with previously reported bacterial toxins and effectors that modulate the Rho GTPase signaling pathway.PLoS Pathogens 03/2015; 11(3):e1004694. DOI:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004694 · 8.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), a serine/threonine kinase that orchestrates cytoskeletal remodeling and cell motility, has been shown to function as downstream node for various oncogenic signaling pathways to promote cell proliferation, regulate apoptosis and accelerate mitotic abnormalities, resulting in tumor formation and invasiveness. Although alterations in PAK1 expression and activity have been detected in various human malignancies, its potential biological and clinical significance in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains obscure. In this study, we found increased PAK1 and phosphorylated PAK1 levels in tumor tissues according to TNM stage progression. Elevated phosphorylated PAK1 levels associated with progressive features and indicated unfavorable overall survival (OS) as an independent adverse prognosticator for patients with RCC. Moreover, PAK1 kinase activation with constitutive active PAK1 mutant T423E promoted growth, colony formation, migration, invasion and stem-like phenotype of RCC cells, and vice versa, in PAK1 inhibition by PAK1 kinase inactivation with specific PAK1 shRNA, dead kinase PAK1 mutant K299R or allosteric inhibitor IPA3. Stem-like phenotype due to sunitinib administration via increased PAK1 kinase activation could be ameliorated by PAK1 shRNA, PAK1 mutant K299R and IPA3. Furthermore, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)/interleukin-6 (IL-6) activation was found to be responsible for PAK1-mediated stem-like phenotype following sunitinib treatment. Both IL-6 neutralizing antibody and IPA3 administration enhanced tumor growth inhibition effect of sunitinib treatment on RCC cells in vitro and in vivo. Our results unraveled that oncogenic activation of PAK1 defines an important mechanism for maintaining stem-like phenotype and sunitinib resistance through NF-κB/IL-6 activation in RCC, lending PAK1-mediated NF-κB/IL-6 activation considerable appeal as novel pharmacological therapeutic targets against sunitinib resistance.Cell Death & Disease 6:e1637. DOI:10.1038/cddis.2015.2 · 5.18 Impact Factor