Cell migration involves the localized extension of actin-rich protrusions, a process that requires Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI 3-kinases). Both Rac and Ras have been shown to regulate actin polymerization and activate PI 3-kinase. However, the coordination of Rac, Ras and PI 3-kinase activation during epidermal growth factor (EGF)-stimulated protrusion has not been analyzed. We examined PI 3-kinase-dependent protrusion in MTLn3 rat adenocarcinoma cells. EGF-stimulated phosphatidyl-inositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3 ] levels showed a rapid and persistent response, as PI 3-kinase activity remained elevated up to 3 minutes. The activation kinetics of Ras, but not Rac, coincided with those of leading-edge PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3 production. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of K-Ras but not Rac1 abolished PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3 production at the leading edge and inhibited EGF-stimulated protrusion. However, Rac1 knockdown did inhibit cell migration, because of the inhibition of focal adhesion formation in Rac1 siRNA-treated cells. Our data show that in EGF-stimulated MTLn3 carcinoma cells, Ras is required for both PtdIns(3,4,5)P 3 production and lamellipod extension, whereas Rac1 is required for formation of adhesive structures. These data suggest an unappreciated role for Ras during protrusion, and a crucial role for Rac in the stabilization of protrusions required for cell motility.
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