rhoGDIs (Rho GDP dissociation inhibitors) are postulated to regulate the activity and the localization of small G-proteins of the Rho family by a shuttling process involving extraction of Rho from donor membranes, formation of inhibitory cytosolic rhoGDI/Rho complexes, and delivery of Rho to target membranes. However, the role of rhoGDIs in site-specific membrane targeting or extraction of Rho is still poorly understood. We investigated here the in vivo functions of two mammalian rhoGDIs: the specific rhoGDI-3 and the well-studied rhoGDI-1 (rhoGDI) after structure-based mutagenesis. We identified two sites in rhoGDIs, forming conserved interactions with their Rho target, whose mutation results in the uncoupling of inhibitory and shuttling functions of rhoGDIs in vivo. Remarkably, these rhoGDI mutants were detected at Rho-induced membrane ruffles or protrusions, where they co-localized with RhoG or Cdc42, probably identifying for the first time the site of extraction of a Rho protein by a rhoGDI in vivo. We propose that these mutations act by modifying the steady-state kinetics of the shuttling process regulated by rhoGDIs, such that transient steps at the cell membranes now become detectable. They should provide valuable tools for future investigations of the dynamics of membrane extraction or delivery of Rho proteins and their regulation by cellular partners.

You do not currently have access to this content.