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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e29912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029912. Epub 2012 Jan 6.

The N-terminal DH-PH domain of Trio induces cell spreading and migration by regulating lamellipodia dynamics in a Rac1-dependent fashion.

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Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Sanquin Research and Landsteiner Laboratory, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Trio encodes two DH-PH domains that catalyze nucleotide exchange on Rac1, RhoG and RhoA. The N-terminal DH-PH domain is known to activate Rac1 and RhoG, whereas the C-terminal DH-PH domain can activate RhoA. The current study shows that the N-terminal DH-PH domain, upon expression in HeLa cells, activates Rac1 and RhoG independently from each other. In addition, we show that the flanking SH3 domain binds to the proline-rich region of the C-terminus of Rac1, but not of RhoG. However, this SH3 domain is not required for Rac1 or RhoG GDP-GTP exchange. Rescue experiments in Trio-shRNA-expressing cells showed that the N-terminal DH-PH domain of Trio, but not the C-terminal DH-PH domain, restored fibronectin-mediated cell spreading and migration defects that are observed in Trio-silenced cells. Kymograph analysis revealed that the N-terminal DH-PH domain, independent of its SH3 domain, controls the dynamics of lamellipodia. Using siRNA against Rac1 or RhoG, we found that Trio-D1-induced lamellipodia formation required Rac1 but not RhoG expression. Together, we conclude that the GEF Trio is responsible for lamellipodia formation through its N-terminal DH-PH domain in a Rac1-dependent manner during fibronectin-mediated spreading and migration.

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