Research ArticlesPhosphoinositide Signaling

Triggering Actin Comets Versus Membrane Ruffles: Distinctive Effects of Phosphoinositides on Actin Reorganization

Science Signaling  13 Dec 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 203, pp. ra87
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002033

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Acting Together Rather than in Isolation

Members of the phosphoinositide family of membrane lipids mediate numerous cellular functions, leading to the question of how a limited set of signaling molecules can give rise to a wide spectrum of effects. Ueno et al. used two different techniques to rapidly manipulate the local concentration of the second messenger phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2], only one of which was accompanied by a decrease in the concentration of its precursor, phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate [PI(4)P]. Intriguingly, they found that the effect on the actin cytoskeleton of the combination of an increase in PI(4,5)P2 and a decrease in PI(4)P was entirely distinct from that of increasing PI(4,5)P2 without decreasing PI(4)P. Thus, the authors concluded that combinatorial regulation of the concentrations of distinct but closely related membrane phosphoinositides may at least partly explain the ability of this family of signaling molecules to produce such functionally diverse responses.