Transforming activity of the Rho family GTPase, Wrch-1, a Wnt-regulated Cdc42 homolog, is dependent on a novel carboxyl-terminal palmitoylation motif

Anastacia C. Berzat, Janice E. Buss, Emily J. Chenette, Carolyn A. Weinbaum, Adam Shutes, Charming J. Der, Audrey Minden, Adrienne D. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wrch-1 is a Rho family GTPase that shares strong sequence and functional similarity with Cdc42. Like Cdc42, Wrch-1 can promote anchorage-independent growth transformation. We determined that activated Wrch-1 also promoted anchorage-dependent growth transformation of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. Wrch-1 contains a distinct carboxyl-terminal extension not found in Cdc42, suggesting potential differences in subcellular location and function. Consistent with this, we found that Wrch-1 associated extensively with plasma membrane and endosomes, rather than with cytosol and perinuclear membranes like Cdc42. Like Cdc42, Wrch-1 terminates in a CAAX tetrapeptide (where C is cysteine, A is aliphatic amino acid, and Xis any amino acid) motif (CCFV), suggesting that Wrch-1 may be prenylated similarly to Cdc42. Most surprisingly, unlike Cdc42, Wrch-1 did not incorporate isoprenoid moieties, and Wrch-1 membrane localization was not altered by inhibitors of protein prenylation. Instead, we showed that Wrch-1 is modified by the fatty acid palmitate, and pharmacologic inhibition of protein palmitoylation caused mislocalization of Wrch-1. Most interestingly, mutation of the second cysteine of the CCFV motif (CCFV > CSFV), but not the first, abrogated both Wrch-1 membrane localization and transformation. These results suggest that Wrch-1 membrane association, subcellular localization, and biological activity are mediated by a novel membrane-targeting mechanism distinct from that of Cdc42 and other isoprenylated Rho family GTPases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33055-33065
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume280
Issue number38
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 23 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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