The lysophospholipids sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) and lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) signal through G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) which couple to multiple G-proteins and their effectors. These GPCRs are quite efficacious in coupling to the Gα(12/13) family of G-proteins, which stimulate guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for RhoA. Activated RhoA subsequently regulates downstream enzymes that transduce signals which affect the actin cytoskeleton, gene expression, cell proliferation and cell survival. Remarkably many of the enzymes regulated downstream of RhoA either use phospholipids as substrates (e.g. phospholipase D, phospholipase C-epsilon, PTEN, PI3 kinase) or are regulated by phospholipid products (e.g. protein kinase D, Akt). Thus lysophospholipids signal from outside of the cell and control phospholipid signaling processes within the cell that they target. Here we review evidence suggesting an integrative role for RhoA in responding to lysophospholipids upregulated in the pathophysiological environment, and in transducing this signal to cellular responses through effects on phospholipid regulatory or phospholipid regulated enzymes. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Advances in Lysophospholipid Research.
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