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Periodic propagating waves coordinate RhoGTPase network dynamics at the leading and trailing edges during cell migration

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Original languageEnglish
Article number58165
Early online date24 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Jul 2020


Migrating cells need to coordinate distinct leading and trailing edge dynamics but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Here, we combine experiments and mathematical modeling to elaborat the minimal autonomous biochemical machinery necessary and sufficient for this dynamic coordination and cell movement. RhoA activates Rac1 via DIA and inhibits Rac1 via ROCK, while
Rac1 inhibits RhoA through PAK. Our data suggest that in motile, polarized cells, RhoA–ROCK interactions prevail at the rear whereas RhoA-DIA interactions dominate at the front where Rac1/Rho oscillations drive protrusions and retractions. At the rear, high RhoA and low Rac1activities are maintained until a wave of oscillatory GTPase activities from the cell front reaches the rear, inducing transient GTPase oscillations and RhoA activity spikes. After the rear retracts, the initial GTPase pattern resumes. Our findings show how periodic, propagating GTPase waves coordinate distinct GTPase patterns at the leading and trailing edge dynamics in moving cells.

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