DGAP1 of Dictyostelium discoideum is a cell cortex associated 95 kDa protein that shows homology to both RasGTPase-activating proteins (RasGAPs) and RasGAP-related proteins. When tested for RasGAP activity, recombinant DGAP1 protein did not promote the GTPase activity of human H-Ras or of Dictyostelium RasG in vitro. Instead, DGAP1 bound to Dictyostelium Rac1A and human Rac1, but not to human Cdc42. DGAP1 preferentially interacted with the activated GTP-bound forms of Rac1 and Rac1A, but did not affect the GTPase activities. Since Rho-type GTPases are implicated in the formation of specific F-actin structures and in the control of cell morphology, the microfilament system of mutants that either lack or overexpress DGAP1 has been analysed. DGAP1-null mutants showed elevated levels of F-actin that was organised in large leading edges, membrane ruffles or numerous large filopods. Expression of actin fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used to monitor the actin dynamics in these cells, and revealed that the F-actin cytoskeleton of DGAP1-null cells was rapidly re-arranged to form ruffles and filopods. Conversely, in DGAP1-overexpressing cells, the formation of cellular projections containing F-actin was largely suppressed. Measurement of cell migration demonstrated that DGAP1 expression is inversely correlated with the speed of cell motility.

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