A versatile cortical pattern-forming circuit based on Rho, F-actin, Ect2 and RGA-3/4

Ani Michaud, Marcin Leda, Zachary T. Swider, Songeun Kim, Jiaye He, Jennifer Landino, Jenna R. Valley, Jan Huisken, Andrew B. Goryachev, George von Dassow, William M Bement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many cells can generate complementary traveling waves of actin filaments (F-actin) and cytoskeletal regulators. This phenomenon, termed cortical excitability, results from coupled positive and negative feedback loops of cytoskeletal regulators. The nature of these feedback loops, however, remains poorly understood. We assessed the role of the Rho GAP RGA-3/4 in the cortical excitability that accompanies cytokinesis in both frog and starfish. RGA-3/4 localizes to the cytokinetic apparatus, "chases" Rho waves in an F-actin-dependent manner, and when coexpressed with the Rho GEF Ect2, is sufficient to convert the normally quiescent, immature Xenopus oocyte cortex into a dramatically excited state. Experiments and modeling show that changing the ratio of RGA-3/4 to Ect2 produces cortical behaviors ranging from pulses to complex waves of Rho activity. We conclude that RGA-3/4, Ect2, Rho, and F-actin form the core of a versatile circuit that drives a diverse range of cortical behaviors, and we demonstrate that the immature oocyte is a powerful model for characterizing these dynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202203017
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number8
Early online date16 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jun 2022


  • actin cytoskeleton
  • actins
  • animals
  • cytokinesis
  • cytoskeleton
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • oocytes
  • proto-oncogene proteins
  • xenopus
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins


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