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Biophys J. 2008 Oct;95(8):4057-67. doi: 10.1529/biophysj.108.130179. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

3'-phosphoinositides regulate the coordination of speed and accuracy during chemotaxis.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


The PI3K/PTEN pathway, as the regulator of 3'-phosphoinositide (3'-PI) dynamics, has emerged as a key regulator of chemoattractant gradient sensing during chemotaxis in Dictyostelium and other cell types. Previous results have shown 3'-PIs to be important for regulating basal cell motility and sensing the direction and strength of the chemoattractant gradient. We examined the chemotaxis of wild-type cells and cells lacking PTEN or PI3K1 and 2 using analytical methods that allowed us to quantitatively discern differences between the genotype's ability to sense and efficiently respond to changes in gradient steepness during chemotaxis. We found that cells are capable of increasing their chemotactic accuracy and speed as they approach a micropipette in a manner that is dependent on the increasing strength of the concentration gradient and 3'-PI signaling. Further, our data show that 3'-PI signaling affects a cell's ability to coordinate speed and direction to increase chemotactic efficiency. Using to our knowledge a new measurement of chemotactic efficiency that reveals the degree of coordination between speed and accuracy, we found that cells also have the capacity to increase their chemotactic efficiency as they approach the micropipette. Like directional accuracy and speed, the increase in chemotactic efficiency of cells with increased gradient strength is sensitive to 3'-PI dysregulation. Our evidence suggests that receptor-driven 3'-PI signaling regulates the ability of a cell to capitalize on stronger directional inputs and minimize the effects of inaccurate turns to increase chemotactic efficiency.

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