Cdc42 GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) regulate generational inheritance of cell polarity and cell shape in fission yeast

Marbelys Rodriguez Pino, Illyce Nuñez, Chuan Chen, Maitreyi E. Das, David J. Wiley, Gennaro D. Urso, Peter Buchwald, Dimitrios Vavylonis, Fulvia Verdea

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1 Scopus citations


The highly conserved small GTPase Cdc42 regulates polarized cell growth and morphogenesis from yeast to humans. We previously reported that Cdc42 activation exhibits oscillatory dynamics at cell tips of Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells. Mathematical modeling suggests that this dynamic behavior enables a variety of symmetric and asymmetric Cdc42 activation distributions to coexist in cell populations. For individual wild-type cells, however, Cdc42 distribution is initially asymmetrical and becomes more symmetrical as cell volume increases, enabling bipolar growth activation. To explore whether different patterns of Cdc42 activation are possible in vivo, we examined S. pombe rga4∆ mutant cells, lacking the Cdc42 GTPase-activating protein (GAP) Rga4. We found that monopolar rga4∆ mother cells divide asymmetrically leading to the emergence of both symmetric and asymmetric Cdc42 distributions in rga4∆ daughter cells. Motivated by different hypotheses that can mathematically reproduce the unequal fate of daughter cells, we used genetic screening to identify mutants that alter the rga4∆ phenotype. We found that the unequal distribution of active Cdc42 GTPase is consistent with an unequal inheritance of another Cdc42 GAP, Rga6, in the two daughter cells. Our findings highlight the crucial role of Cdc42 GAP localization in maintaining consistent Cdc42 activation and growth patterns across generations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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