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The atypical Rho GTPase Wrch1 collaborates with the nonreceptor tyrosine kinases Pyk2 and Src in regulating cytoskeletal dynamics.

Ruusala A., Aspenstrom P.

The Cdc42-like GTPase Wnt responsive Cdc42 homolog 1 (Wrch1) has several atypical features; it has an N-terminal proline-rich extension that confers binding to SH3 domains, and it harbors an extremely high intrinsic nucleotide exchange activity, which overrides the normal GTPase activity. As a result, Wrch1 resides mainly in the active, GTP-loaded conformation under normal cellular conditions. We have previously shown that ectopic expression of Wrch1 in fibroblasts resulted in an altered cell morphology visible as a formation of filopodia, a loss of stress fibers, and a reduction in focal adhesions. Here, we show that Wrch1 binds to the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Pyk2. The interaction required Wrch1 to be in a GTP conformation and also required an intact N-terminal proline-rich extension as well as an intact effector loop. Wrch1 requires Pyk2 in imposing the cytoskeletal effects, seen as the formation of filopodia, since treatment of cells with a Pyk2-specific small interfering RNA abrogated this response. Interestingly, we found that the presence and activity of Src were needed for the formation of a Wrch1-Pyk2 complex as well as for the Wrch1-induced formation of filopodia. We propose a model in which Pyk2 and Src function to coordinate the Wrch1-dependent effects on cytoskeletal dynamics.

Mol. Cell. Biol. 28:1802-1814(2008) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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