Rnd3/RhoE expression is regulated by G-actin through MKL1-SRF signaling pathway

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Abstract

Rnd3/RhoE is an atypical member of the Rho family of small GTPases, devoid of intrinsic GTP hydrolytic activity and a general modulator of important cellular processes such as migration and proliferation. Here, we show that Rnd3 is a target of the transcription factor SRF and its co-activator MKL1. The MKL1-SRF pathway assures the translation of physical forces into a transcriptional response. Rho GTPases can modulate the activity of this mechanotransduction pathway through actin cytoskeleton regulation, and many MKL1-SRF targets are involved in the regulation of actin. We found that Rnd3 expression is altered by G-actin signaling and sensitive to actin-targeting drugs and MKL1 mutants. We further characterized a consensus SRF binding site in the Rnd3 promoter. We found that MKL1-SRF modulation regulates Rnd3 promoter activity and Rnd3 expression can affect MKL1-SRF pathway activity in return. We demonstrated that this novel MKL1-SRF target is required in mechanosensitive mechanisms such as cell spreading and spheroid formation. Thus, Rnd3 is a MKL1-SRF target that plays a key role in the feedback loop described between the MKL1-SRF pathway and the organization of the actin cytoskeleton.

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