Chemotaxis and phagocytosis are basically similar in cells of the immune system and in Dictyostelium amebae. Deletion of the unique G protein β subunit in D. discoideum impaired phagocytosis but had little effect on fluid-phase endocytosis, cytokinesis, or random motility. Constitutive expression of wild-type β subunit restored phagocytosis and normal development. Chemoattractants released by cells or bacteria trigger typical transient actin polymerization responses in wild-type cells. In β subunit- null cells, and in a series of β subunit point mutants, these responses were impaired to a degree that correlated with the defect in phagocytosis. Image analysis of green fluorescent protein-actin transfected cells showed that β subunit-null cells were defective in reshaping the actin network into a phagocytic cup, and eventually a phagosome, in response to particle attachment. Our results indicate that signaling through heterotrimeric G proteins is required for regulating the actin cytoskeleton during phagocytic uptake, as previously shown for chemotaxis. Inhibitors of phospholipase C and intracellular Ca2+ mobilization inhibited phagocytosis, suggesting the possible involvement of these effectors in the process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology