Generating polarity

Small GTPases are critical in establishing cell polarity in yeast and mammalian cells.

Jonathan Weitzman(
Jan 30, 2003

Two studies, published online this week, demonstrate the importance of Cdc42, a Rho-type guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase), in cell polarization. In the January 30 Sciencexpress, Roland Wedlich-Soldner and colleagues used a fusion protein of green fluorescent protein linked to a constitutively activated form of Cdc42 in yeast cells (Sciencexpress, DOI:10.1126/science.1080944, 30 January, 2003). They observed that F-actin and actinomyosin-directed vesicle transport were essential for the establishment and maintenance of Cdc42-induced polar cap formation in growth-arrested cells.

In an Advanced Online Publication in Nature, Etienne-Manneville and Hall describe how Cdc42 participates in cell polarity in mammalian cells (Nature, DOI:10.1038/nature01423, January 29, 2003). They used a scratch-induced cell migration assay with primary rat astrocytes to show that Cdc42 regulates the phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) at the leading edge of migrating cells. This leads to the interaction of adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) with the plus...

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