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Open Access Research article

GxcDD, a putative RacGEF, is involved in Dictyostelium development

Subhanjan Mondal1, Dhamodharan Neelamegan12, Francisco Rivero1 and Angelika A Noegel1*

Author affiliations

1 Institute for Biochemistry I, Medical Faculty, and Center for Molecular Medicine, University of Cologne, 50931, Cologne, Germany

2 National Research Council, Institute for Biological Sciences, 100 Sussex Drive, Ottawa ON, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2007, 8:23  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-8-23

Published: 20 June 2007

Abstract

Background

Rho subfamily GTPases are implicated in a large number of actin-related processes. They shuttle from an inactive GDP-bound form to an active GTP-bound form. This reaction is catalysed by Guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEFs). GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) help the GTPase return to the inactive GDP-bound form. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum lacks a Rho or Cdc42 ortholog but has several Rac related GTPases. Compared to our understanding of the downstream effects of Racs our understanding of upstream mechanisms that activate Rac GTPases is relatively poor.

Results

We report on GxcDD (Guanine exchange factor for Rac GTPases), a Dictyostelium RacGEF. GxcDD is a 180-kDa multidomain protein containing a type 3 CH domain, two IQ motifs, three PH domains, a RhoGEF domain and an ArfGAP domain. Inactivation of the gene results in defective streaming during development under different conditions and a delay in developmental timing. The characterization of single domains revealed that the CH domain of GxcDD functions as a membrane association domain, the RhoGEF domain can physically interact with a subset of Rac GTPases, and the ArfGAP-PH tandem accumulates in cortical regions of the cell and on phagosomes. Our results also suggest that a conformational change may be required for activation of GxcDD, which would be important for its downstream signaling.

Conclusion

The data indicate that GxcDD is involved in proper streaming and development. We propose that GxcDD is not only a component of the Rac signaling pathway in Dictyostelium, but is also involved in integrating different signals. We provide evidence for a Calponin Homology domain acting as a membrane association domain. GxcDD can bind to several Rac GTPases, but its function as a nucleotide exchange factor needs to be studied further.