The Rac GTP-binding proteins are members of the Rho family and regulate growth factor-stimulated actin assembly in a variety of cells. The formation of phosphorylated inositol lipids has been implicated in control of the processes initiating and regulating such actin polymerization. Associations of Rho family GTP-binding proteins with enzymes involved in lipid metabolism have been described. Here we demonstrate a direct and specific interaction of Rac proteins with phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase. This interaction is dependent upon Rac being in a GTP-bound state and requires an intact Rac effector domain. In contrast, direct binding of RhoA to PI 3-kinase could not be detected. Rac–GTP also bound to PI 3-kinase in Swiss 3T3 fibroblast and human neutrophil lysates, and increased PI 3-kinase activity became associated with Rac–GTP in platelet-derived growth factor-stimulated cells. Interaction of Rac–GTP with PI 3-kinase in vitro stimulated the activity of the enzyme by 2–9-fold. A specific interaction of active Rac with PI 3-kinase might be important in regulation of the actin cytoskeleton.

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