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Open Access Research article

Regulation of mitotic spindle formation by the RhoA guanine nucleotide exchange factor ARHGEF10

Takuji Aoki, Shuji Ueda, Tohru Kataoka and Takaya Satoh*

Author affiliations

Division of Molecular Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2009, 10:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-10-56

Published: 28 July 2009



The Dbl family guanine nucleotide exchange factor ARHGEF10 was originally identified as the product of the gene associated with slowed nerve-conduction velocities of peripheral nerves. However, the function of ARHGEF10 in mammalian cells is totally unknown at a molecular level. ARHGEF10 contains no distinctive functional domains except for tandem Dbl homology-pleckstrin homology and putative transmembrane domains.


Here we show that RhoA is a substrate for ARHGEF10. In both G1/S and M phases, ARHGEF10 was localized in the centrosome in adenocarcinoma HeLa cells. Furthermore, RNA interference-based knockdown of ARHGEF10 resulted in multipolar spindle formation in M phase. Each spindle pole seems to contain a centrosome consisting of two centrioles and the pericentriolar material. Downregulation of RhoA elicited similar phenotypes, and aberrant mitotic spindle formation following ARHGEF10 knockdown was rescued by ectopic expression of constitutively activated RhoA. Multinucleated cells were not increased upon ARHGEF10 knockdown in contrast to treatment with Y-27632, a specific pharmacological inhibitor for the RhoA effector kinase ROCK, which induced not only multipolar spindle formation, but also multinucleation. Therefore, unregulated centrosome duplication rather than aberration in cytokinesis may be responsible for ARHGEF10 knockdown-dependent multipolar spindle formation. We further isolated the kinesin-like motor protein KIF3B as a binding partner of ARHGEF10. Knockdown of KIF3B again caused multipolar spindle phenotypes. The supernumerary centrosome phenotype was also observed in S phase-arrested osteosarcoma U2OS cells when the expression of ARHGEF10, RhoA or KIF3B was abrogated by RNA interference.


Collectively, our results suggest that a novel RhoA-dependent signaling pathway under the control of ARHGEF10 has a pivotal role in the regulation of the cell division cycle. This pathway is not involved in the regulation of cytokinesis, but instead may regulate centrosome duplication. The kinesin-like motor protein KIF3B may modulate the ARHGEF10-RhoA pathway through the binding to ARHGEF10.