Mutant Rac1B expression in Dictyostelium: Effects on morphology, growth, endocytosis, development, and the actin cytoskeleton

Stephen J. Palmieri, Thomas Nebl, Robert K. Pope, David J. Seastone, Eunkyung Lee, Edward H. Hinchcliffe, Greenfield Sluder, David Knecht, James Cardelli, Elizabeth J. Luna

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39 Scopus citations


Rac1 is a small G-protein in the Ras superfamily that has been implicated in the control of cell growth, adhesion, and the actin-based cytoskeleton. To investigate the role of Rac1 during motile processes, we have established Dictyostelium cell lines that conditionally overexpress epitope-tagged Dictyostelium discoideum wild-type Rac1B (DdRac1B) or a mutant DdRac1B protein. Expression of endogenous levels of myc- or GFP-tagged wild-type DdRac1B had minimal effect on cellular morphologies and behaviors. By contrast, expression of a constitutively active mutant (G12→V or Q61→L) or a dominant negative mutant (T17→N) generated amoebae with characteristic cellular defects. The morphological appearance of actin-containing structures, intracellular levels of F-actin, and cellular responses to chemoattractant closely paralleled the amount of active DdRac1B, indicating a role in upregulating actin cytoskeletal activities. Expression of any of the three mutants inhibited cell growth and cytokinesis, and delayed multicellular development, suggesting that DdRac1B plays important regulatory role(s) during these processes. No significant effects were observed on binding or internalization of latex beads in suspension or on intracellular membrane trafficking. Cells expressing DdRac1B-G12V exhibited defects in fluid-phase endocytosis and the longest developmental delays; DdRac1B-Q61L produced the strongest cytokinesis defect; and DdRac1B-T17N generated intermediate phenotypes. These conditionally expressed DdRac1B proteins should facilitate the identification and characterization of the Rac1 signaling pathway in an organism that is amenable to both biochemical and molecular genetic manipulations. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-304
Number of pages20
JournalCell motility and the cytoskeleton
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cdc42
  • Cytokinesis
  • Pinocytosls
  • Rac
  • Rho
  • Small G proteins

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