PIX proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that activate Rac and Cdc42, and are known to have numerous functions in various cell types. Here, we show that a PIX protein has an important function in muscle. From a genetic screen in C. elegans, we found that pix-1 is required for the assembly of integrin adhesion complexes (IACs) at borders between muscle cells, and is required for locomotion of the animal. A pix-1 null mutant has a reduced level of activated Rac in muscle. PIX-1 localizes to IACs at muscle cell boundaries, M-lines and dense bodies. Mutations in genes encoding proteins at known steps of the PIX signaling pathway show defects at muscle cell boundaries. A missense mutation in a highly conserved residue in the RacGEF domain results in normal levels of PIX-1 protein, but a reduced level of activated Rac in muscle, and abnormal IACs at muscle cell boundaries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)