IQGAP1 integrates Ca2+/calmodulin and Cdc42 signaling.
Calmodulin regulates diverse Ca2+-dependent cellular processes, including cell cycle progression and cytoskeletal rearrangement. A recently identified calmodulin-binding protein, IQGAP1, interacts with both actin and Cdc42. In this study, evidence is presented that, in the absence of Ca2+, IQGAP1 bound to Cdc42, which maintained Cdc42 in the active GTP-bound state. Addition of Ca2+ both directly abrogated the effect of IQGAP1 on the intrinsic GTPase activity of Cdc42 and, in the presence of calmodulin, dissociated Cdc42 from IQGAP1. In addition, in vitro binding assays revealed that calmodulin associated with both the calponin homology domain and the IQ motifs of IQGAP1. Moreover, F-actin competed with Ca2+/calmodulin for binding to the calponin homology domain, but not the IQ motifs, of IQGAP1. Analysis of cell lysates revealed that calmodulin bound to IQGAP1 in a ternary complex with Cdc42. Increasing the Ca2+ concentration enhanced the interaction between calmodulin and IQGAP1, with a concomitant decrease in the association of IQGAP1 with Cdc42. Our data suggest that IQGAP1 functions as a scaffolding protein, providing a molecular link between Ca2+/calmodulin and Cdc42 signaling.