Rho family GTPases are activated with precise spatiotemporal control by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs). Guanine exchange factor H1 (GEF-H1), a RhoA activator, is thought to act as an integrator of microtubule (MT) and actin dynamics in diverse cell functions. Here we identify a GEF-H1 autoinhibitory sequence and exploit it to produce an activation biosensor to quantitatively probe the relationship between GEF-H1 conformational change, RhoA activity, and edge motion in migrating cells with micrometer- and second-scale resolution. Simultaneous imaging of MT dynamics and GEF-H1 activity revealed that autoinhibited GEF-H1 is localized to MTs, while MT depolymerization subadjacent to the cell cortex promotes GEF-H1 activation in an ~5-µm-wide peripheral band. GEF-H1 is further regulated by Src phosphorylation, activating GEF-H1 in a narrower band ~0–2 µm from the cell edge, in coordination with cell protrusions. This indicates a synergistic intersection between MT dynamics and Src signaling in RhoA activation through GEF-H1.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology