Martha C Soto

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States

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Publications (8)48.01 Total impact

  • Falshruti B Patel, Martha C Soto
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    ABSTRACT: Cells can use the force of actin polymerization to drive intracellular transport, but the role of actin in endocytosis is not clear. Studies in single-celled yeast demonstrate the essential role of the branched actin nucleator, Arp2/3, and its activating nucleation promoting factors (NPFs) in the process of invagination from the cell surface through endocytosis. However, some mammalian studies have disputed the need for F-actin and Arp2/3 in Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis (CME) in multicellular organisms. We investigate the role of Arp2/3 during endocytosis in C. elegans, a multicellular organism with polarized epithelia. Arp2/3 and its NPF, WAVE/SCAR, are essential for C. elegans embryonic morphogenesis. We show that WAVE/SCAR and Arp2/3 regulate endocytosis and early endosome morphology in diverse tissues of C. elegans. Depletion of WAVE/SCAR or Arp2/3, but not of the NPF Wasp, severely disrupts the distribution of molecules proposed to be internalized via CME, and alters the subcellular enrichment of the early endosome regulator RAB-5. Loss of WAVE/SCAR or of the GEFs that regulate RAB-5 results in similar defects in endocytosis in the intestine and coelomocyte cells. This study in a multicellular organism supports an essential role for branched actin regulators in endocytosis, and identifies WAVE/SCAR as a key NPF that promotes Arp2/3 endocytic function in C. elegans.
    Developmental Biology 03/2013; 377(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2013.03.012 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many cells in a developing embryo, including neurons and their axons and growth cones, must integrate multiple guidance cues to undergo directed growth and migration. The UNC-6/netrin, SLT-1/slit, and VAB-2/Ephrin guidance cues, and their receptors, UNC-40/DCC, SAX-3/Robo, and VAB-1/Eph, are known to be major regulators of cellular growth and migration. One important area of research is identifying the molecules that interpret this guidance information downstream of the guidance receptors to reorganize the actin cytoskeleton. However, how guidance cues regulate the actin cytoskeleton is not well understood. We report here that UNC-40/DCC, SAX-3/Robo, and VAB-1/Eph differentially regulate the abundance and subcellular localization of the WAVE/SCAR actin nucleation complex and its activator, Rac1/CED-10, in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryonic epidermis. Loss of any of these three pathways results in embryos that fail embryonic morphogenesis. Similar defects in epidermal enclosure have been observed when CED-10/Rac1 or the WAVE/SCAR actin nucleation complex are missing during embryonic development in C. elegans. Genetic and molecular experiments demonstrate that in fact, these three axonal guidance proteins differentially regulate the levels and membrane enrichment of the WAVE/SCAR complex and its activator, Rac1/CED-10, in the epidermis. Live imaging of filamentous actin (F-actin) in embryos developing in the absence of individual guidance receptors shows that high levels of F-actin are not essential for polarized cell migrations, but that properly polarized distribution of F-actin is essential. These results suggest that proper membrane recruitment and activation of CED-10/Rac1 and of WAVE/SCAR by signals at the plasma membrane result in polarized F-actin that permits directed movements and suggest how multiple guidance cues can result in distinct changes in actin nucleation during morphogenesis.
    PLoS Genetics 08/2012; 8(8):e1002863. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1002863 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulated movements of the nucleus are essential during zygote formation, cell migrations, and differentiation of neurons. The nucleus moves along microtubules (MTs) and is repositioned on F-actin at the cellular cortex. Two families of nuclear envelope proteins, SUN and KASH, link the nucleus to the actin and MT cytoskeletons during nuclear movements. However, the role of actin nucleators in nuclear migration and positioning is poorly understood. We show that the branched actin nucleator, Arp2/3, affects nuclear movements throughout embryonic and larval development in C. elegans, including nuclear migrations in epidermal cells and neuronal precursors. In one-cell embryos the migration of the male pronucleus to meet the female pronucleus after fertilization requires Arp2/3. Loss of Arp2/3 or its activators changes the dynamics of non-muscle myosin, NMY-2, and alters the cortical accumulation of posterior PAR proteins. Reduced establishment of the posterior microtubule cytoskeleton in Arp2/3 mutants correlates with reduced male pronuclear migration. The UNC-84/SUN nuclear envelope protein that links the nucleus to the MT and actin cytoskeleton is known to regulate later nuclear migrations. We show here it also positions the male pronucleus. These studies demonstrate a global role for Arp2/3 in nuclear migrations. In the C. elegans one-cell embryo Arp2/3 promotes the establishment of anterior/posterior polarity and promotes MT growth that propels the anterior migration of the male pronucleus. In contrast with previous studies emphasizing pulling forces on the male pronucleus, we propose that robust MT nucleation pushes the male pronucleus anteriorly to join the female pronucleus.
    Developmental Biology 07/2011; 357(2):356-69. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.07.008 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been proposed that Arp2/3, which promotes nucleation of branched actin, is needed for epithelial junction initiation but is less important as junctions mature. We focus here on how Arp2/3 contributes to the Caenorhabditis elegans intestinal epithelium and find important roles for Arp2/3 in the maturation and maintenance of junctions in embryos and adults. Electron microscope studies show that embryos depleted of Arp2/3 form apical actin-rich microvilli and electron-dense apical junctions. However, whereas apical/basal polarity initiates, apical maturation is defective, including decreased apical F-actin enrichment, aberrant lumen morphology, and reduced accumulation of some apical junctional proteins, including DLG-1. Depletion of Arp2/3 in adult animals leads to similar intestinal defects. The DLG-1/AJM-1 apical junction proteins, and the ezrin-radixin-moesin homologue ERM-1, a protein that connects F-actin to membranes, are required along with Arp2/3 for apical F-actin enrichment in embryos, whereas cadherin junction proteins are not. Arp2/3 affects the subcellular distribution of DLG-1 and ERM-1. Loss of Arp2/3 shifts both ERM-1 and DLG-1 from pellet fractions to supernatant fractions, suggesting a role for Arp2/3 in the distribution of membrane-associated proteins. Thus, Arp2/3 is required as junctions mature to maintain apical proteins associated with the correct membranes.
    Molecular biology of the cell 06/2011; 22(16):2886-99. DOI:10.1091/mbc.E10-10-0862 · 5.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The TOCA family of F-BAR-containing proteins bind to and remodel lipid bilayers via their conserved F-BAR domains, and regulate actin dynamics via their N-Wasp binding SH3 domains. Thus, these proteins are predicted to play a pivotal role in coordinating membrane traffic with actin dynamics during cell migration and tissue morphogenesis. By combining genetic analysis in Caenorhabditis elegans with cellular biochemical experiments in mammalian cells, we showed that: i) loss of CeTOCA proteins reduced the efficiency of Clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME) in oocytes. Genetic interference with CeTOCAs interacting proteins WSP-1 and WVE-1, and other components of the WVE-1 complex, produced a similar effect. Oocyte endocytosis defects correlated well with reduced egg production in these mutants. ii) CeTOCA proteins localize to cell-cell junctions and are required for proper embryonic morphogenesis, to position hypodermal cells and to organize junctional actin and the junction-associated protein AJM-1. iii) Double mutant analysis indicated that the toca genes act in the same pathway as the nematode homologue of N-WASP/WASP, wsp-1. Furthermore, mammalian TOCA-1 and C. elegans CeTOCAs physically associated with N-WASP and WSP-1 directly, or WAVE2 indirectly via ABI-1. Thus, we propose that TOCA proteins control tissues morphogenesis by coordinating Clathrin-dependent membrane trafficking with WAVE and N-WASP-dependent actin-dynamics.
    PLoS Genetics 10/2009; 5(10):e1000675. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000675 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The WAVE/SCAR complex promotes actin nucleation through the Arp2/3 complex, in response to Rac signaling. We show that loss of WVE-1/GEX-1, the only C. elegans WAVE/SCAR homolog, by genetic mutation or by RNAi, has the same phenotype as loss of GEX-2/Sra1/p140/PIR121, GEX-3/NAP1/HEM2/KETTE, or ABI-1/ABI, the three other components of the C. elegans WAVE/SCAR complex. We find that the entire WAVE/SCAR complex promotes actin-dependent events at different times and in different tissues during development. During C. elegans embryogenesis loss of CED-10/Rac1, WAVE/SCAR complex components, or Arp2/3 blocks epidermal cell migrations despite correct epidermal cell differentiation. 4D movies show that this failure occurs due to decreased membrane dynamics in specific epidermal cells. Unlike myoblasts in Drosophila, epidermal cell fusions in C. elegans can occur in the absence of WAVE/SCAR or Arp2/3. Instead we find that subcellular enrichment of F-actin in epithelial tissues requires the Rac-WAVE/SCAR-Arp2/3 pathway. Intriguingly, we find that at the same stage of development both F-actin and WAVE/SCAR proteins are enriched apically in one epithelial tissue and basolaterally in another. We propose that temporally and spatially regulated actin nucleation by the Rac-WAVE/SCAR-Arp2/3 pathway is required for epithelial cell organization and movements during morphogenesis.
    Developmental Biology 11/2008; 324(2):297-309. DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.09.023 · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the developing nervous system, axons are guided to their targets by the growth cone. Lamellipodial and filopodial protrusions from the growth cone underlie motility and guidance. Many molecules that control lamellipodia and filopodia formation, actin organization, and axon guidance have been identified, but it remains unclear how these molecules act together to control these events. Experiments are described here that indicate that, in Caenorhabditis elegans, two WH2-domain-containing activators of the Arp2/3 complex, WVE-1/WAVE and WSP-1/WASP, act redundantly in axon guidance and that GEX-2/Sra-1 and GEX-3/Kette, molecules that control WAVE activity, might act in both pathways. WAVE activity is controlled by Rac GTPases, and data are presented here that suggest WVE-1/WAVE and CED-10/Rac act in parallel to a pathway containing WSP-1/WASP and MIG-2/RhoG. Furthermore, results here show that the CED-10/WVE-1 and MIG-2/WSP-1 pathways act in parallel to two other molecules known to control lamellipodia and filopodia and actin organization, UNC-115/abLIM and UNC-34/Enabled. These results indicate that at least three actin-modulating pathways act in parallel to control actin dynamics and lamellipodia and filopodia formation during axon guidance (WASP-WAVE, UNC-115/abLIM, and UNC-34/Enabled).
    Genetics 09/2008; 179(4):1957-71. DOI:10.1534/genetics.108.088963 · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Axon migrations are guided by extracellular cues that can act as repellants or attractants. However, the logic underlying the manner through which attractive and repulsive responses are determined is unclear. Many extracellular guidance cues, and the cellular components that mediate their signals, have been implicated in both types of responses. Genetic analyses indicate that MIG-10/RIAM/lamellipodin, a cytoplasmic adaptor protein, functions downstream of the attractive guidance cue UNC-6/netrin and the repulsive guidance cue SLT-1/slit to direct the ventral migration of the AVM and PVM axons in C. elegans. Furthermore, overexpression of MIG-10 in the absence of UNC-6 and SLT-1 induces a multipolar phenotype with undirected outgrowths. Addition of either UNC-6 or SLT-1 causes the neurons to become monopolar. Moreover, the ability of UNC-6 or SLT-1 to direct the axon ventrally is enhanced by the MIG-10 overexpression. We also demonstrate that an interaction between MIG-10 and UNC-34, a protein that promotes actin-filament extension, is important in the response to guidance cues and that MIG-10 colocalizes with actin in cultured cells, where it can induce the formation of lamellipodia. We conclude that MIG-10 mediates the guidance of AVM and PVM axons in response to the extracellular UNC-6 and SLT-1 guidance cues. The attractive and repulsive guidance cues orient MIG-10-dependant axon outgrowth to cause a directional response.
    Current Biology 06/2006; 16(9):845-53. DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2006.03.025 · 9.92 Impact Factor