A Dictyostelium secreted factor requires a PTEN-like phosphatase to slow proliferation and induce chemorepulsion.
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In Dictyostelium discoideum, AprA and CfaD are secreted proteins that inhibit cell proliferation. We found that the proliferation of cells lacking CnrN, a phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-like phosphatase, is not inhibited by exogenous AprA and is increased by exogenous CfaD. The expression of CnrN in cnrN cells partially rescues these altered sensitivities, suggesting that CnrN is necessary for the ability of AprA and CfaD to inhibit proliferation. Cells lacking CnrN accumulate normal levels of AprA and CfaD. Like cells lacking AprA and CfaD, cnrN cells proliferate faster and reach a higher maximum cell density than wild type cells, tend to be multinucleate, accumulate normal levels of mass and protein per nucleus, and form less viable spores. When cnrN cells expressing myc-tagged CnrN are stimulated with a mixture of rAprA and rCfaD, levels of membrane-associated myc-CnrN increase. AprA also causes chemorepulsion of Dictyostelium cells, and CnrN is required for this process. Combined, these results suggest that CnrN functions in a signal transduction pathway downstream of AprA and CfaD mediating some, but not all, of the effects of AprA and CfaD.