PH Domain-Arf G Protein Interactions Localize the Arf-GEF Steppke for Cleavage Furrow Regulation in Drosophila

Lee DM, Rodrigues FF, Yu CG, Swan M, Harris TJ

PLoS ONE 2015;10(11):e0142562

PMID: 26556630

Abstract

The recruitment of GDP/GTP exchange factors (GEFs) to specific subcellular sites dictates where they activate small G proteins for the regulation of various cellular processes. Cytohesins are a conserved family of plasma membrane GEFs for Arf small G proteins that regulate endocytosis. Analyses of mammalian cytohesins have identified a number of recruitment mechanisms for these multi-domain proteins, but the conservation and developmental roles for these mechanisms are unclear. Here, we report how the pleckstrin homology (PH) domain of the Drosophila cytohesin Steppke affects its localization and activity at cleavage furrows of the early embryo. We found that the PH domain is necessary for Steppke furrow localization, and for it to regulate furrow structure. However, the PH domain was not sufficient for the localization. Next, we examined the role of conserved PH domain amino acid residues that are required for mammalian cytohesins to bind PIP3 or GTP-bound Arf G proteins. We confirmed that the Steppke PH domain preferentially binds PIP3 in vitro through a conserved mechanism. However, disruption of residues for PIP3 binding had no apparent effect on GFP-Steppke localization and effects. Rather, residues for binding to GTP-bound Arf G proteins made major contributions to this Steppke localization and activity. By analyzing GFP-tagged Arf and Arf-like small G proteins, we found that Arf1-GFP, Arf6-GFP and Arl4-GFP, but not Arf4-GFP, localized to furrows. However, analyses of embryos depleted of Arf1, Arf6 or Arl4 revealed either earlier defects than occur in embryos depleted of Steppke, or no detectable furrow defects, possibly because of redundancies, and thus it was difficult to assess how individual Arf small G proteins affect Steppke. Nonetheless, our data show that the Steppke PH domain and its conserved residues for binding to GTP-bound Arf G proteins have substantial effects on Steppke localization and activity in early Drosophila embryos.