Chemotaxis, or directional movement towards an extracellular gradient of chemicals, is necessary for processes as diverse as finding nutrients, the immune response, metastasis and wound healing. Activation of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) is at the very base of the chemotactic signaling pathway. Chemotaxis starts with binding of the chemoattractant to GPCRs at the cell-surface, which finally leads to major changes in the cytoskeleton and directional cell movement towards the chemoattractant. Many chemotaxis pathways that are directly regulated by Gβγ have been identified and studied extensively; however, whether Gα is just a handle that regulates the release of Gβγ or whether Gα has its own set of distinct chemotactic effectors, is only beginning to be understood. In this review, we will discuss the different levels of regulation in GPCR signaling and the downstream pathways that are essential for proper chemotaxis.
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