RhoA-mediated regulation of myosin-II activity in the actin cortex controls the ability of cells to contract and bleb during a variety of cellular processes, including cell migration and division. Cell contraction and blebbing also frequently occur as part of the cytopathic effect seen during many different viral infections. We now demonstrate that the vaccinia virus protein F11, which localizes to the plasma membrane, is required for ROCK-mediated cell contraction from 2 hr post infection. Curiously, F11-induced cell contraction is dependent on RhoC and not RhoA signaling to ROCK. Moreover, RhoC-driven cell contraction depends on the upstream inhibition of RhoD signaling by F11. This inhibition prevents RhoD from regulating its downstream effector Pak6, alleviating the suppression of RhoC by the kinase. Our observations with vaccinia have now demonstrated that RhoD recruits Pak6 to the plasma membrane to antagonize RhoC signaling during cell contraction and blebbing.
p27Kip1 (p27) is a cyclin-CDK inhibitor and negative regulator of cell proliferation. p27 also controls other cellular processes including migration and cytoplasmic p27 can act as an oncogene. Furthermore, cytoplasmic p27 promotes invasion and metastasis, in part by promoting epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Herein, we find that p27 promotes cell invasion by binding to and regulating the activity of Cortactin, a critical regulator of invadopodia formation. p27 localizes to invadopodia and limits their number and activity. p27 promotes the interaction of Cortactin with PAK1. In turn, PAK1 promotes invadopodia turnover by phosphorylating Cortactin, and expression of Cortactin mutants for PAK-targeted sites abolishes p27's effect on invadopodia dynamics. Thus, in absence of p27, cells exhibit increased invadopodia stability due to impaired PAK1-Cortactin interaction, but their invasive capacity is reduced compared to wild-type cells. Overall, we find that p27 directly promotes cell invasion by facilitating invadopodia turnover via the Rac1/PAK1/Cortactin pathway.