C-terminal SH3 domain of CrkII regulates the assembly and function of the DOCK180/ELMO Rac-GEF

Shin Akakura, Bishnupriya Kar, Sukhwinder Singh, Leong Cho, Nitu Tibrewal, Reiko Sanokawa-Akakura, Charles Reichman, Kodimangalam S. Ravichandran, Raymond B. Birge

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44 Scopus citations


Genetic studies in Caenorhabiditis elegans identified an evolutionary conserved CED-2 (CrkII), CED-5 (DOCK180), CED-12 (ELMO), CED-10 (Rac1) module important for cell migration and phagocytosis of apoptotic cells. Previous studies have shown that DOCK180 and ELMO comprise an unconventional bipartite Dbl homology domain-independent Rac guanine nucleotide exchange factor (Rac-GEF); but it is still unclear how CrkII functions in Rac-GEF activity. In this study, we have characterized a unique function of CrkII in phagocytosis and Rac activation mediated by the C-terminal SH3 domain, a region of CrkII that has no clear cellular or biochemical function. We found that mutations that disrupt the C-terminal SH3 domain of CrkII (CrkII-SH3-C) abrogate engulfment of apoptotic cells and impair cell spreading on extracellular matrix. Surprisingly, despite the effects on engulfment, W276K CrkII strongly potentiated Rac-GTP loading when ectopically expressed in HEK 293T cells. Contrary to the effects of the true dominant negative SH2 domain mutants (R38K CrkII) and SH3-N domain mutants (W170K CrkII) that prevent macromolecular assembly of signaling proteins, W276K CrkII increases association between DOCK180 and CrkII as well as constitutive tethering of the Crk/DOCK180/ELMO protein complex that interacted with RhoG. Our results indicate that while N-terminal SH3 of CrkII promotes assembly between CrkII and DOCK180, the C-terminal SH3 of CrkII regulates the stability and turnover of the DOCK180/ELMO complex. Studies with W276K CrkII may offer a unique opportunity to study the structure and function of the DOCK180/ELMO Rac-GEF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005


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