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J Cell Biol. 2014 Feb 17;204(4):497-505. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201309081.

PIP₃-dependent macropinocytosis is incompatible with chemotaxis.

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Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow G61 1BD, Scotland, UK.


In eukaryotic chemotaxis, the mechanisms connecting external signals to the motile apparatus remain unclear. The role of the lipid phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP₃) has been particularly controversial. PIP₃ has many cellular roles, notably in growth control and macropinocytosis as well as cell motility. Here we show that PIP₃ is not only unnecessary for Dictyostelium discoideum to migrate toward folate, but actively inhibits chemotaxis. We find that macropinosomes, but not pseudopods, in growing cells are dependent on PIP₃. PIP₃ patches in these cells show no directional bias, and overall only PIP₃-free pseudopods orient up-gradient. The pseudopod driver suppressor of cAR mutations (SCAR)/WASP and verprolin homologue (WAVE) is not recruited to the center of PIP₃ patches, just the edges, where it causes macropinosome formation. Wild-type cells, unlike the widely used axenic mutants, show little macropinocytosis and few large PIP₃ patches, but migrate more efficiently toward folate. Tellingly, folate chemotaxis in axenic cells is rescued by knocking out phosphatidylinositide 3-kinases (PI 3-kinases). Thus PIP₃ promotes macropinocytosis and interferes with pseudopod orientation during chemotaxis of growing cells.

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