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J Cell Biol. 1998 Jun 29;141(7):1529-37.

G protein beta subunit-null mutants are impaired in phagocytosis and chemotaxis due to inappropriate regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Cliniche e Biologiche, Università di Torino, Ospedale S. Luigi, 10043 Orbassano, Italy.


Chemotaxis and phagocytosis are basically similar in cells of the immune system and in Dictyostelium amebae. Deletion of the unique G protein beta subunit in D. discoideum impaired phagocytosis but had little effect on fluid-phase endocytosis, cytokinesis, or random motility. Constitutive expression of wild-type beta subunit restored phagocytosis and normal development. Chemoattractants released by cells or bacteria trigger typical transient actin polymerization responses in wild-type cells. In beta subunit-null cells, and in a series of beta subunit point mutants, these responses were impaired to a degree that correlated with the defect in phagocytosis. Image analysis of green fluorescent protein-actin transfected cells showed that beta subunit- null cells were defective in reshaping the actin network into a phagocytic cup, and eventually a phagosome, in response to particle attachment. Our results indicate that signaling through heterotrimeric G proteins is required for regulating the actin cytoskeleton during phagocytic uptake, as previously shown for chemotaxis. Inhibitors of phospholipase C and intracellular Ca2+ mobilization inhibited phagocytosis, suggesting the possible involvement of these effectors in the process.

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