RIC8A is essential for the organisation of actin cytoskeleton and cell-matrix interaction
RIC8A functions as a chaperone and guanine nucleotide exchange factor for a subset of G protein α subunits. Multiple G protein subunits mediate various signalling events that regulate cell adhesion and migration and the involvement of RIC8A in some of these processes has been demonstrated. We have previously shown that the deficiency of RIC8A causes a failure in mouse gastrulation and neurogenesis – major events in embryogenesis that rely on proper association of cells with the extracellular matrix (ECM) and involve active cell migration. To elaborate on these findings, we used Ric8a-/- mouse embryonic stem cells and Ric8a-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and found that RIC8A plays an important role in the organisation and remodelling of actin cytoskeleton and cell-ECM association. Ric8a-deficient cells were able to attach to different ECM components, but were unable to spread correctly, and did not form stress fibres or focal adhesion complexes. We also found that the presence of RIC8A is necessary for the activation of β1 integrins and integrin-mediated cell migration.