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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 May 9;97(10):5225-30.

Role of Rac in controlling the actin cytoskeleton and chemotaxis in motile cells.

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Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biology, Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0634, USA.


We have used the chemotactic ability of Dictyostelium cells to examine the roles of Rho family members, known regulators of the assembly of F-actin, in cell movement. Wild-type cells polarize with a leading edge enriched in F-actin toward a chemoattractant. Overexpression of constitutively active Dictyostelium Rac1B(61L) or disruption of DdRacGAP1, which encodes a Dictyostelium Rac1 GAP, induces membrane ruffles enriched with actin filaments around the perimeter of the cell and increased levels of F-actin in resting cells. Whereas wild-type cells move linearly toward the cAMP source, Rac1B(61L) and Ddracgap1 null cells make many wrong turns and chemotaxis is inefficient, which presumably results from the unregulated activation of F-actin assembly and pseudopod extension. Cells expressing dominant-negative DdRac1B(17N) do not have a well-defined F-actin-rich leading edge and do not protrude pseudopodia, resulting in very poor cell motility. From these studies and assays examining chemoattractant-mediated F-actin assembly, we suggest DdRac1 regulates the basal levels of F-actin assembly, its dynamic reorganization in response to chemoattractants, and cellular polarity during chemotaxis.

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