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Curr Biol. 2001 May 1;11(9):708-13.

Recruitment of a myosin heavy chain kinase to actin-rich protrusions in Dictyostelium.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Nonmuscle myosin II plays fundamental roles in cell body translocation during migration and is typically depleted or absent from actin-based cell protrusions such as lamellipodia, but the mechanisms preventing myosin II assembly in such structures have not been identified [1-3]. In Dictyostelium discoideum, myosin II filament assembly is controlled primarily through myosin heavy chain (MHC) phosphorylation. The phosphorylation of sites in the myosin tail domain by myosin heavy chain kinase A (MHCK A) drives the disassembly of myosin II filaments in vitro and in vivo [4]. To better understand the cellular regulation of MHCK A activity, and thus the regulation of myosin II filament assembly, we studied the in vivo localization of native and green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged MHCK A. MHCK A redistributes from the cytosol to the cell cortex in response to stimulation of Dictyostelium cells with chemoattractant in an F-actin-dependent manner. During chemotaxis, random migration, and phagocytic/endocytic events, MHCK A is recruited preferentially to actin-rich leading-edge extensions. Given the ability of MHCK A to disassemble myosin II filaments, this localization may represent a fundamental mechanism for disassembling myosin II filaments and preventing localized filament assembly at sites of actin-based protrusion.

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