Rac GTPases localize at sites of actin reorganization during dynamic remodeling of the cytoskeleton of normal embryonic fibroblasts

Chiara Albertinazzi, Anna Cattelino, Ivan De Curtis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Rac GTP-binding proteins are implicated in the dynamic organization of the actin cytoskeleton, and the mechanisms utilized for this purpose are not understood yet. In this paper we have analysed the effects of the expression of Rac proteins on the organization of the cytoskeleton, and their subcellular distribution in chicken embryo fibroblasts. In these cells, overexpression of wild-type Rac GTPases induces disassembly of stress fibers, and production of long, highly branched actin-rich protrusions, with consequent dramatic changes in cell morphology. The formation of these protrusions is mediated by adhesion to the substrate, and is prevented by incubation with anti-β1 function-blocking antibodies. Rac-mediated cell shape changes require a wild-type GTPase, since expression of constitutively active V12-Rac proteins affects actin organization differently in these cells, without causing alterations in their morphology. Localization studies performed on ventral plasma membranes from fibroblasts transfected with wild-type or mutant GTPases show codistribution of Rac along stress fibers, before their disassembly and the formation of the actin-rich protrusions. These data show a link between Rac protein distribution, and their effects on the actin cytoskeleton. Altogether, our results are indicative of an active role of Rac proteins in stress fiber disassembly, and show that Rac, which can cycle its bound nucleotide, produces unique dynamic effects on actin organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3821-3831
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Volume112
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Keywords

  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Adhesion
  • GTP-binding protein
  • Integrin
  • Stress fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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