The Journal of biological chemistry

Characterization of a novel GTPase-activating protein associated with focal adhesions and the actin cytoskeleton.

PMID 15611138


In the present study we characterize a novel RhoGAP protein (RC-GAP72) that interacts with actin stress fibers, focal adhesions, and cell-cell adherens junctions via its 185-amino acid C-terminal region. Overexpression of RC-GAP72 in fibroblasts induces cell rounding with partial or complete disruption of actin stress fibers and formation of membrane ruffles, lamellipodia, and filopodia. RC-GAP72 mutant truncated downstream of the GTPase-activating protein (GAP) domain retains the ability to stimulate membrane protrusions but fails to affect stress fiber integrity or induce cell retraction. A mutant protein consisting of the C terminus of RC-GAP72 and lacking the GAP domain does not exert any visible effect on cellular morphology. Inactivation of the GAP domain by a point mutation does not abolish the effect of RC-GAP72 on actin stress fibers but moderates its capability to induce membrane protrusions. Our data imply that the cytoskeletal localization of RC-GAP72 and its interaction with GTPases are essential for its effect on the integrity of actin stress fibers, whereas the induction of lamellipodia and filopodia depends on the activity of the GAP domain irrespective of binding to the actin cytoskeleton. We propose that RC-GAP72 affects cellular morphology by targeting activated Cdc42 and Rac1 GTPases to specific subcellular sites, triggering local morphological changes. The overall physiological functions of RC-GAP72 are presently unknown, yet our data suggest that RC-GAP72 plays a role in regulating cell morphology and cytoskeletal organization.