Two Phases of Actin Polymerization Display Different Dependencies on PI(3,4,5)P3 Accumulation and Have Unique Roles during Chemotaxis

Lingfeng Chen, Chris Janetopoulos, Yi Elaine Huang, Miho Iijima, Jane Borleis, Peter N. Devreotes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The directional movement of cells in chemoattractant gradients requires sophisticated control of the actin cytoskeleton. Uniform exposure of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae as well as mammalian leukocytes to chemoattractant triggers two phases of actin polymerization. In the initial rapid phase, motility stops and the cell rounds up. During the second slow phase, pseudopodia are extended from local regions of the cell perimeter. These responses are highly correlated with temporal and spatial accumulations of PI(3,4,5)P3/PI(3,4)P2 reflected by the translocation of specific PH domains to the membrane. The slower phase of PI accumulation and actin polymerization is more prominent in less differentiated, unpolarized cells, is selectively increased by disruption of PTEN, and is relatively more sensitive to perturbations of PI3K. Optimal levels of the second responses allow the cell to respond rapidly to switches in gradient direction by extending lateral pseudopods. Consequently, PI3K inhibitors impair chemotaxis in wild-type cells but partially restore polarity and chemotactic response in pten- cells. Surprisingly, the fast phase of PI(3,4,5)P3 accumulation and actin polymerization, which is relatively resistant to PI3K inhibition, can support inefficient but reasonably accurate chemotaxis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5028-5037
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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