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CGEF-1 and CHIN-1 regulate CDC-42 activity during asymmetric division in the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo.

The anterior-posterior axis of the Caenorhabditis elegans embryo is elaborated at the one-cell stage by the polarization of the partitioning (PAR) proteins at the cell cortex. Polarization is established under the control of the Rho GTPase RHO-1 and is maintained by the Rho GTPase CDC-42. To understand more clearly the role of the Rho family GTPases in polarization and division of the early embryo, we constructed a fluorescent biosensor to determine the localization of CDC-42 activity in the living embryo. A genetic screen using this biosensor identified one positive (putative guanine nucleotide exchange factor [GEF]) and one negative (putative GTPase activating protein [GAP]) regulator of CDC-42 activity: CGEF-1 and CHIN-1. CGEF-1 was required for robust activation, whereas CHIN-1 restricted the spatial extent of CDC-42 activity. Genetic studies placed CHIN-1 in a novel regulatory loop, parallel to loop described previously, that maintains cortical PAR polarity. We found that polarized distributions of the nonmuscle myosin NMY-2 at the cell cortex are independently produced by the actions of RHO-1, and its effector kinase LET-502, during establishment phase and CDC-42, and its effector kinase MRCK-1, during maintenance phase. CHIN-1 restricted NMY-2 recruitment to the anterior during maintenance phase, consistent with its role in polarizing CDC-42 activity during this phase.

Pubmed ID: 19923324 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Amino Acid Sequence | Animals | Caenorhabditis elegans | Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins | Cell Division | Cell Polarity | Embryo, Nonmammalian | GTPase-Activating Proteins | Green Fluorescent Proteins | Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors | Models, Biological | Molecular Sequence Data | Mutation | Myosin Type II | Protein Binding | Protein Transport | Signal Transduction | cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein | rho GTP-Binding Proteins

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Associated grants

  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: R01 GM052454
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: 5 T32 GM-08349
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: GM-052454
  • Agency: NIBIB NIH HHS, Id: R01 EB000184
  • Agency: NIGMS NIH HHS, Id: T32 GM008349

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