Crucial Role of Rapgef2 and Rapgef6, a Family of Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors for Rap1 Small GTPase, in Formation of Apical Surface Adherens Junctions and Neural Progenitor Development in the Mouse Cerebral Cortex123
The Rap1 small GTPase has been implicated in regulation of integrin-mediated leukocyte adhesion downstream of various chemokines and cytokines in many aspects of inflammatory and immune responses. However, the mechanism for Rap1 regulation in the adhesion signaling remains unclear. RA-GEF-2 is a member of the multiple-member family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rap1 and characterized by the possession of a Ras/Rap1-associating domain, interacting with M-Ras-GTP as an effector, in addition to the GEF catalytic domain. Here, we show that RA-GEF-2 is specifically responsible for the activation of Rap1 that mediates tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-triggered integrin activation. In BAF3 hematopoietic cells, activated M-Ras potently induced lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1)-mediated cell aggregation. This activation was totally abrogated by knockdown of RA-GEF-2 or Rap1. TNF-alpha treatment activated LFA-1 in a manner dependent on M-Ras, RA-GEF-2, and Rap1 and induced activation of M-Ras and Rap1 in the plasma membrane, which was accompanied by recruitment of RA-GEF-2. Finally, we demonstrated that M-Ras and RA-GEF-2 were indeed involved in TNF-alpha-stimulated and Rap1-mediated LFA-1 activation in splenocytes by using mice deficient in RA-GEF-2. These findings proved a crucial role of the cross-talk between two Ras-family GTPases M-Ras and Rap1, mediated by RA-GEF-2, in adhesion signaling.