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J Immunol. 2009 Mar 15;182(6):3837-45. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0803838.

The mDial formin is required for neutrophil polarization, migration, and activation of the LARG/RhoA/ROCK signaling axis during chemotaxis.

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Department of Medicine, Samuel Lunenfeld and Toronto Hospital Research Institutes, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Neutrophil chemotaxis depends on actin dynamics, but the roles for specific cytoskeleton regulators in this response remain unclear. By analysis of mammalian diaphanous-related formin 1 (mDia1)-deficient mice, we have identified an essential role for this actin nucleator in neutrophil chemotaxis. Lack of mDia1 was associated with defects in chemoattractant-induced neutrophil actin polymerization, polarization, and directional migration, and also with impaired activation of RhoA, its downstream target p160-Rho-associated coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK), and the leukemia-associated RhoA guanine nucleotide exchange factor (LARG). Our data also revealed mDia1 to be associated with another cytoskeletal regulator, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp), at the leading edge of chemotaxing neutrophils and revealed polarized morphology and chemotaxis to be more mildly impaired in WAS(-/-) than in mDia1(-/-) neutrophils, but essentially abrogated by combined mDia1/WASp deficiency. Thus, mDia1 roles in neutrophil chemotaxis appear to be subserved in concert with WASp and are realized at least in part by activation of the LARG/RhoA/ROCK signaling pathway.

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