Differential effect of Rac and Cdc42 on p38 kinase activity and cell cycle progression of nonadherent primary mouse fibroblasts

Philips, A.; Roux, P.; Coulon, V.; Bellanger, J. M.; Vie, A.; Vignais, M. L.; Blanchard, J. M.

J Biol Chem

2000-02-25 / vol 275 / pages 5911-7


The Rho GTPases play an important role in transducing signals linking plasma membrane receptors to the organization of the cytoskeleton and also regulate gene transcription. Here, we show that expression of constitutively active Ras or Cdc42, but not RhoA, RhoG, and Rac1, is sufficient to cause anchorage-independent cell cycle progression of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. However, in anchorage free conditions, whereas activation of either Cdc42 or Ras results in cyclin A transcription and cell cycle progression, Cdc42 is not required for Ras-mediated cyclin A induction, and the two proteins act in a synergistic manner in this process. Surprisingly, the ability of Cdc42 to induce p38 MAPK activity in suspended mouse embryonic fibroblast was impaired. Moreover, inhibition of p38 activity allowed Rac1 to induce anchorage-independent cyclin A transcription, indicating that p38 MAPK has an inhibitory function on cell cycle progression of primary fibroblasts. Finally, a Rac mutant, which is unable to induce lamellipodia and focal complex formation, promoted cyclin A transcription in the presence of SB203580, suggesting that the organization of the cytoskeleton is not required for anchorage-independent proliferation. This demonstrates a novel function for Cdc42, distinct from that of Rac1, in the control of cell proliferation.

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Cell Adhesion/physiology; Animals; Cells, Cultured; Down-Regulation; Mice; Signal Transduction; Flow Cytometry; Transcription Factors/metabolism; Transcription, Genetic; S Phase; Transfection; Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases/metabolism; Cell Cycle/physiology; Cell Division/physiology; Genes, Reporter; *GTP Phosphohydrolases; *JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases; *Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases; Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases/genetics/*metabolism; cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein/genetics/*metabolism/physiology; Cyclin A/metabolism; Fibroblasts/enzymology/*metabolism; MAP Kinase Kinase 4; p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases; rac1 GTP-Binding Protein/genetics/*metabolism; rhoA GTP-Binding Protein/metabolism

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