The tandem BRCT domains of Ect2 are required for both negative and positive regulation of Ect2 in cytokinesis

Ja Eun Kim, Daniel D. Billadeau, Junjie Chen

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83 Scopus citations


Epithelial cell transforming protein 2 (Ect2) is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Rho GTPases, molecular switches essential for the control of cytokinesis in mammalian cells. Aside from the canonical Dbl homology/pleckstrin homology cassette found in virtually all Dbl family members, Ect2 contains N-terminal tandem BRCT domains. In this study, we address the role of the Ect2 BRCT domains in the regulation of Ect2 activity and cytokinesis. First, we show that the depletion of endogenous Ect2 by small interfering RNA induces multinucleation, suggesting that Ect2 is required for cytokinesis. In addition, we provide evidence that Ect2 normally exists in an inactive conformation, which is at least partially due to an intramolecular interaction between the BRCT domains and the C-terminal domain of Ect2. This intramolecular interaction masks the catalytic domain responsible for guanine nucleotide exchange toward RhoA. Consistent with a role in regulating Ect2 GEF activity, overexpression of an N-terminal Ect2 containing the tandem BRCT domains, but not single BRCT domain or BRCT domain mutant, leads to a failure in cytokinesis. Surprisingly, although ectopically expressed wild-type Ect2 rescues the multinucleation resulting from the depletion of endogenous Ect2, expression of a BRCT mutant of Ect2 failed to restore proper cytokinesis in these cells. Taken together, the results of our study indicate that the tandem BRCT domains of Ect2 play dual roles in the regulation of Ect2. Whereas these domains negatively regulate Ect2 GEF activity in interphase cells, they are also required for the proper function of Ect2 during cytokinesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5733-5739
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 18 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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