Akt kinases are required for efficient feeding by macropinocytosis in Dictyostelium

Thomas D. Williams (Lead / Corresponding author), Sew-Yeu Peak-Chew, Peggy Paschke, Robert R. Kay

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Macropinocytosis is an actin-driven process of large-scale, non-specific fluid uptake used for feeding by some cancer cells and the macropinocytosis model organism Dictyostelium discoideum. In Dictyostelium, macropinocytic cups are organised by ‘macropinocytic patches’ in the plasma membrane. These contain activated Ras, Rac and PI(3,4,5)P3 and direct actin polymerisation to their periphery. Here, we show that a classical (PkbA) and a variant (PkbR1) Akt protein kinase acting downstream of PI(3,4,5)P3 are together are near-essential for fluid uptake. This pathway enables the formation of larger macropinocytic patches and macropinosomes, thereby dramatically increasing fluid uptake. Akt targets identified by phosphoproteomics were highly enriched in small G-protein regulators, including the RhoGAP GacG. GacG knockout mutants make few macropinosomes but instead redeploy their cytoskeleton from macropinocytosis to motility, moving rapidly but taking up little fluid. The function of Akt in cell feeding through control of macropinosome size has implications for cancer cell biology.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2018


  • Macropinocytosis
  • Akt
  • Dictyostelium
  • PI3-kinase
  • endocytosis
  • PI3K


Dive into the research topics of 'Akt kinases are required for efficient feeding by macropinocytosis in Dictyostelium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this