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Eur J Cell Biol. 2006 Sep;85(9-10):947-59. Epub 2006 Jun 8.

Rho GTPase signaling in Dictyostelium discoideum: insights from the genome.

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Center for Biochemistry of the Medical Faculty and Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 52, D-50931 Cologne, Germany.


Rho GTPases are ubiquitously expressed across the eukaryotes where they act as molecular switches participating in the regulation of many cellular processes. We present an inventory of proteins involved in Rho-regulated signaling pathways in Dictyostelium discoideum that have been identified in the completed genome sequence. In Dictyostelium the Rho family is encoded by 18 genes and one pseudogene. Some of the Rho GTPases (Rac1a/b/c, RacF1/F2 and RacB) are members of the Rac subfamily, and one, RacA, belongs to the RhoBTB subfamily. The Cdc42 and Rho subfamilies, characteristic of metazoa and fungi, are absent. The activities of these GTPases are regulated by two members of the RhoGDI family, by eight members of the Dock180/zizimin family and by a surprisingly large number of proteins carrying RhoGEF (42 genes) or RhoGAP (43 genes) domains or both (three genes). Most of these show domain compositions not found in other organisms, although some have clear homologs in metazoa and/or fungi. Among the (in many cases putative) effectors found in Dictyostelium are the CRIB domain proteins (WASP and two related proteins, eight PAK kinases and a novel gelsolin-related protein), components of the Scar/WAVE complex, 10 formins, four IQGAPs, two members of the PCH family, numerous lipid kinases and phospholipases, and components of the NADPH oxidase and the exocyst complexes. In general, the repertoire of Rho signaling components of Dictyostelium is similar to that of metazoa and fungi.

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