The Rottapel Lab


Mechanistic insight into GPCR-mediated activation of the microtubule-associated RhoA exchange factor GEF-H1.

Meiri D, Marshall CB, Mokady D, LaRose J, Mullin M, Gingras AC, Ikura M, Rottapel R.

Nat Commun. 2014 Sep 11;5:4857. doi: 10.1038/ncomms5857.

The RhoGEF GEF-H1 can be sequestered in an inactive state on polymerized microtubules by the dynein motor light-chain Tctex-1. Phosphorylation of GEF-H1 Ser885 by PKA or PAK kinases creates an inhibitory 14-3-3-binding site. Here we show a new mode of GEF-H1 activation in response to the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) ligands lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) or thrombin that is independent of microtubule depolymerization. LPA/thrombin stimulates disassembly of the GEF-H1:dynein multi-protein complex through the concerted action of Gα and Gβγ. Gα binds directly to GEF-H1 and displaces it from Tctex-1, while Gβγ binds to Tctex-1 and disrupts its interaction with the dynein intermediate chain, resulting in the release of GEF-H1. Full activation of GEF-H1 requires dephosphorylation of Ser885 by PP2A, which is induced by thrombin. The coordinated displacement of GEF-H1 from microtubules by G-proteins and its dephosphorylation by PP2A demonstrate a multistep GEF-H1 activation and present a unique mechanism coupling GPCR signalling to Rho activation.