Diacylglycerol kinase α mediates HGF-induced Rac activation and membrane ruffling by regulating atypical PKC and RhoGDI

Federica Chianale, Elena Rainero, Cristina Cianflone, Valentina Bettio, Andrea Pighini, Paolo E. Porporato, Nicoletta Filigheddu, Guido Serini, Fabiola Sinigaglia, Gianluca Baldanzi, Andrea Graziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs) convert diacylglycerol (DAG) into phosphatidic acid (PA), acting as molecular switches between DAG- and PA-mediated signaling. We previously showed that Src-dependent activation and plasma membrane recruitment of DGKα are required for growth-factor-induced cell migration and ruffling, through the control of Rac small-GTPase activation and plasma membrane localization. Herein we unveil a signaling pathway through which DGK? coordinates the localization of Rac. We show that upon hepatocyte growth-factor stimulation, DGKα, by producing PA, provides a key signal to recruit atypical PKCζ/ι (aPKCζ/ι) in complex with RhoGDI and Rac at ruffling sites of colony-growing epithelial cells. Then, DGK?-dependent activation of aPKCζ/ι mediates the release of Rac from the inhibitory complex with RhoGDI, allowing its activation and leading to formation of membrane ruffles, which constitute essential requirements for cell migration. These findings highlight DGKα as the central element of a lipid signaling pathway linking tyrosine kinase growth-factor receptors to regulation of aPKCs and RhoGDI, and providing a positional signal regulating Rac association to the plasma membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4182-4187
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2010


  • Cell migration
  • Growth factors
  • Phosphatidic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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