MARCKS domain phosphorylation regulates the differential interaction of Diacylglycerol Kinase ζ with Rac1, RhoA and Syntrophin
Cells can switch between Rac1, lamellipodia-based and RhoA, blebbing-based migration modes but the molecular mechanisms regulating this choice are not fully understood. Diacylglycerol kinase ζ (DGKζ), which phosphorylates diacylglycerol to yield phosphatidic acid, forms independent complexes with Rac1 and RhoA, selectively dissociating each from RhoGDI. DGKζ catalytic activity is required for Rac1 dissociation but is dispensable for RhoA dissociation. Instead, DGKζ functions as a scaffold that
... timulates RhoA release by enhancing RhoGDI phosphorylation by protein kinase Cα (PKCα). Here, PKCα-mediated phosphorylation of the DGKζ MARCKS domain increased DGKζ association with RhoA and decreased its interaction with Rac1. The same modification increased binding of the DGKζ C-terminus to the α1-syntrophin PDZ domain. Expression of a phosphomimetic DGKζ mutant stimulated membrane blebbing in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and C2C12 myoblasts, which was augmented by inhibition of endogenous Rac1. DGKζ expression in differentiated C2 myotubes, which have low endogenous Rac1 levels, also induced substantial membrane blebbing via the Rho-ROCK pathway. These events were independent of DGKζ catalytic activity, but dependent upon a functional C-terminal PDZ-binding motif. Rescue of RhoA activity in DGKζ-null cells required the PDZ-binding motif, suggesting syntrophin interaction is necessary for optimal RhoA activation. Collectively, our results define a switch-like mechanism involving DGKζ phosphorylation by PKCα that favours RhoA-driven blebbing over Rac1-driven lamellipodia formation and macropinocytosis. These findings provide a mechanistic basis for the effect of PKCα signaling on Rho GTPase activity and suggest PKCα activity plays a role in the interconversion between Rac1 and RhoA signaling that underlies different migration modes.