Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Sci. 2012 Oct 1;125(Pt 19):4435-44. doi: 10.1242/jcs.108266. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Cell surface dynamics - how Rho GTPases orchestrate the interplay between the plasma membrane and the cortical cytoskeleton.

Author information

  • 1Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and San Raffaele Scientific Institute, via Olgettina 58, 20132 Milan, Italy.


Small GTPases are known to regulate hundreds of cell functions. In particular, Rho family GTPases are master regulators of the cytoskeleton. By regulating actin nucleation complexes, Rho GTPases control changes in cell shape, including the extension and/or retraction of surface protrusions and invaginations. Protrusion and invagination of the plasma membrane also involves the interaction between the plasma membrane and the cortical cytoskeleton. This interplay between membranes and the cytoskeleton can lead to an increase or decrease in the plasma membrane surface area and its tension as a result of the fusion (exocytosis) or internalization (endocytosis) of membranous compartments, respectively. For a long time, the cytoskeleton and plasma membrane dynamics were investigated separately. However, studies from many laboratories have now revealed that Rho GTPases, their modulation of the cytoskeleton, and membrane traffic are closely connected during the dynamic remodeling of the cell surface. Arf- and Rab-dependent exocytosis of specific vesicles contributes to the targeting of Rho GTPases and their regulatory factors to discrete sites of the plasma membrane. Rho GTPases regulate the tethering of exocytic vesicles and modulate their subsequent fusion. They also have crucial roles in the different forms of endocytosis, where they participate in the sorting of membrane domains as well as the sculpting and sealing of membrane flasks and cups. Here, we discuss how cell surface dynamics depend on the orchestration of the cytoskeleton and the plasma membrane by Rho GTPases.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk