We studied the role of the adenylyl cyclase ACA in Dictyostelium discoideum chemotaxis and streaming. In this process, cells orient themselves in a head to tail fashion as they are migrating to form aggregates. We show that cells lacking ACA are capable of moving up a chemoattractant gradient, but are unable to stream. Imaging of ACA-YFP reveals plasma membrane labeling highly enriched at the uropod of polarized cells. This localization requires the actin cytoskeleton but is independent of the regulator CRAC and the effector PKA. A constitutively active mutant of ACA shows dramatically reduced uropod enrichment and has severe streaming defects. We propose that the asymmetric distribution of ACA provides a compartment from which cAMP is secreted to locally act as a chemoattractant, thereby providing a unique mechanism to amplify chemical gradients. This could represent a general mechanism that cells use to amplify chemotactic responses.
Kriebel, P. W., Barr, V. A., & Parent, C. A. (2003). Adenylyl cyclase localization regulates streaming during chemotaxis. Cell, 112(4), 549–560. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-8674(03)00081-3