Rho GTPases orient directional sensing in chemotaxis

Yu Wang, Hiroshi Senoo, Hiromi Sesaki, Miho Iijima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


During chemotaxis, cells sense extracellular chemical gradients and position Ras GTPase activation and phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)- triphosphate (PIP3) production toward chemoattractants. These two major signaling events are visualized by biosensors in a crescent- like zone at the plasma membrane. Here, we show that a Dictyostelium Rho GTPase, RacE, and a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, GxcT, stabilize the orientation of Ras activation and PIP3 production in response to chemoattractant gradients, and this regulation occurred independently of the actin cytoskeleton and cell polarity. Cells lacking RacE or GxcT fail to persistently direct Ras activation and PIP3 production toward chemoattractants, leading to lateral pseudopod extension and impaired chemotaxis. Constitutively active forms of RacE and human RhoA are located on the portion of the plasma membrane that faces lower concentrations of chemoattractants, opposite of PIP3 production. Mechanisms that control the localization of the constitutively active form of RacE require its effector domain, but not PIP3. Our findings reveal a critical role for Rho GTPases in positioning Ras activation and thereby establishing the accuracy of directional sensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E4723-E4732
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 3 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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