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EMBO J. 1998 Nov 2;17(21):6219-29.

Fc receptor-mediated phagocytosis requires CDC42 and Rac1.

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  • 1Centre d'Immunologie INSERM-CNRS de Marseille-Luminy, Case 906, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France.


At the surface of phagocytes, antibody-opsonized particles are recognized by surface receptors for the Fc portion of immunoglobulins (FcRs) that mediate their capture by an actin-driven process called phagocytosis which is poorly defined. We have analyzed the function of the Rho proteins Rac1 and CDC42 in the high affinity receptor for IgE (FcepsilonRI)-mediated phagocytosis using transfected rat basophil leukemia (RBL-2H3) mast cells expressing dominant inhibitory forms of CDC42 and Rac1. Binding of opsonized particles to untransfected RBL-2H3 cells led to the accumulation of F-actin at the site of contact with the particles and further, to particle internalization. This process was inhibited by Clostridium difficile toxin B, a general inhibitor of Rho GTP-binding proteins. Dominant inhibition of Rac1 or CDC42 function severely inhibited particle internalization but not F-actin accumulation. Inhibition of CDC42 function resulted in the appearance of pedestal-like structures with particles at their tips, while particles bound at the surface of the Rac1 mutant cell line were enclosed within thin membrane protrusions that did not fuse. These phenotypic differences indicate that Rac1 and CDC42 have distinct functions and may act cooperatively in the assembly of the phagocytic cup. Inhibition of phagocytosis in the mutant cell lines was accompanied by the persistence of tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins around bound particles. Phagocytic cup closure and particle internalization were also blocked when phosphotyrosine dephosphorylation was inhibited by treatment of RBL-2H3 cells with phenylarsine oxide, an inhibitor of protein phosphotyrosine phosphatases. Altogether, our data show that Rac1 and CDC42 are required to coordinate actin filament organization and membrane extension to form phagocytic cups and to allow particle internalization during FcR-mediated phagocytosis. Our data also suggest that Rac1 and CDC42 are involved in phosphotyrosine dephosphorylation required for particle internalization.

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