Novel protein Callipygian defines the back of migrating cells

Kristen F. Swaney, Jane Borleis, Pablo A. Iglesias, Peter N. Devreotes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Asymmetric protein localization is essential for cell polarity and migration. We report a novel protein, Callipygian (CynA), which localizes to the lagging edge before other proteins and becomes more tightly restricted as cells polarize; additionally, it accumulates in the cleavage furrow during cytokinesis. CynA protein that is tightly localized, or "clustered," to the cell rear is immobile, but when polarity is disrupted, it disperses throughout the membrane and responds to uniform chemoattractant stimulation by transiently localizing to the cytosol. These behaviors require a pleckstrin homology-domain membrane tether and a WD40 clustering domain, which can also direct other membrane proteins to the back. Fragments of CynA lacking the pleckstrin homology domain, which are normally found in the cytosol, localize to the lagging edge membrane when coexpressed with full-length protein, showing that CynA clustering is mediated by oligomerization. Cells lacking CynA have aberrant lateral protrusions, altered leading-edge morphology, and decreased directional persistence, whereas those overexpressing the protein display exaggerated features of polarity. Consistently, actin polymerization is inhibited at sites of CynA accumulation, thereby restricting protrusions to the opposite edge. We suggest that the mutual antagonism between CynA and regions of responsiveness creates a positive feedback loop that restricts CynA to the rear and contributes to the establishment of the cell axis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E3845-E3854
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 21 2015


  • Asymmetry
  • Chemotaxis
  • Dictyostelium
  • Polarity
  • Protein localization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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