The Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor Trio is required for neural crest cell migration and interacts with Dishevelled

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ABSTRACT: Directional migration during embryogenesis and tumor progression faces the challenge that numerous external signals need to converge to precisely control cell movement. The Rho guanine exchange factor (GEF) Trio is especially well suited to relay signals, as it features distinct catalytic domains to activate Rho GTPases. Here, we show that Trio is required for Xenopus cranial neural crest (NC) cell migration and cartilage formation. Trio cell-autonomously controls protrusion formation of NC cells and Trio morphant NC cells show a blebbing phenotype. Interestingly, the Trio GEF2 domain is sufficient to rescue protrusion formation and migration of Trio morphant NC cells. We show that this domain interacts with the DEP/C-terminus of Dishevelled (DVL). DVL – but not a deletion construct lacking the DEP domain – is able to rescue protrusion formation and migration of Trio morphant NC cells. This is likely mediated by activation of Rac1, as we find that DVL rescues Rac1 activity in Trio morphant embryos. Thus, our data provide evidence for a novel signaling pathway, whereby Trio controls protrusion formation of cranial NC cells by interacting with DVL to activate Rac1.
Marie-Claire Kratzer, Sarah F. S. Becker, Anita Grund, Anne Merks, Jakub Harnoš, Vítězslav Bryja, Klaudia Giehl, Jubin Kashef, Annette Borchers