Project description:The small GTPase ARL4C participates in the regulation of cell migration, cytoskeletal rearrangements, and vesicular trafficking in epithelial cells. The ARL4C signaling cascade starts by the recruitment of the ARF-GEF cytohesins to the plasma membrane, which, in turn, bind and activate the small GTPase ARF6. However, the role of ARL4C-cytohesin-ARF6 signaling during hippocampal development remains elusive. Here, we report that the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cullin 5/RBX2 (CRL5) controls the stability of ARL4C and its signaling effectors to regulate hippocampal morphogenesis. Both RBX2 knockout and Cullin 5 knockdown cause hippocampal pyramidal neuron mislocalization and development of multiple apical dendrites. We used quantitative mass spectrometry to show that ARL4C, Cytohesin-1/3, and ARF6 accumulate in the RBX2 mutant telencephalon. Furthermore, we show that depletion of ARL4C rescues the phenotypes caused by Cullin 5 knockdown, whereas depletion of CYTH1 or ARF6 exacerbates overmigration. Finally, we show that ARL4C, CYTH1, and ARF6 are necessary for the dendritic outgrowth of pyramidal neurons to the superficial strata of the hippocampus. Overall, we identified CRL5 as a key regulator of hippocampal development and uncovered ARL4C, CYTH1, and ARF6 as CRL5-regulated signaling effectors that control pyramidal neuron migration and dendritogenesis.
Project description:Neurons are compartmentalized into two morphologically, molecularly, and functionally distinct domains: axons and dendrites, and precise targeting and localization of proteins within these domains are critical for proper neuronal functions. It has been reported that several members of the Rab family small GTPases that are key mediators of membrane trafficking, regulate axon-specific trafficking events, but little has been elucidated regarding the molecular mechanisms that underlie dendrite-specific membrane trafficking. Here we show that Rab17 regulates dendritic morphogenesis and postsynaptic development in mouse hippocampal neurons. Rab17 is localized at dendritic growth cones, shafts, filopodia, and mature spines, but it is mostly absent in axons. We also found that Rab17 mediates dendrite growth and branching and that it does not regulate axon growth or branching. Moreover, shRNA-mediated knockdown of Rab17 expression resulted in a dramatically reduced number of dendritic spines, probably because of impaired filopodia formation. These findings have revealed the first molecular link between membrane trafficking and dendritogenesis.
Project description:ADP ribosylation factors (ARFs) are a family of small GTPases composed of six members (ARF1-6) that control various cellular functions, including membrane trafficking and actin cytoskeletal rearrangement, in eukaryotic cells. Among them, ARF1 and ARF6 are the most studied in neurons, particularly at glutamatergic synapses, but their roles at GABAergic synapses have not been investigated. Here, we show that a subset of ARF6 protein is localized at GABAergic synapses in cultured hippocampal neurons. In addition, we found that knockdown (KD) of ARF6, but not ARF1, triggered a reduction in the number of GABAergic synaptic puncta in mature cultured neurons in an ARF activity-dependent manner. ARF6 KD also reduced GABAergic synaptic density in the mouse hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) region. Furthermore, ARF6 KD in the DG increased seizure susceptibility in an induced epilepsy model. Viewed together, our results suggest that modulating ARF6 and its regulators could be a therapeutic strategy against brain pathologies involving hippocampal network dysfunction, such as epilepsy.
Project description:The small GTPase Arf6 is a conserved protein that is expressed in all metazoans. Arf6 remodels cytoskeletal actin and mediates membrane protein trafficking between the plasma membrane in its active form and endosomal compartments in its inactive form. While a rich knowledge exists for the cellular functions of Arf6, relatively little is known about its physiological role in development. This study examines the function of Arf6 in mediating cellular morphogenesis in early development. We dissect the function of Arf6 with a loss-of-function morpholino and constitutively active Arf6-Q67L construct. We focus on the two cell types that undergo active directed migration: the primary mesenchyme cells (PMCs) that give rise to the sea urchin skeleton and endodermal cells that form the gut. Our results indicate that Arf6 plays an important role in skeleton formation and PMC migration, in part due to its ability to remodel actin. We also found that embryos injected with Arf6 morpholino have gastrulation defects and embryos injected with constitutively active Arf6 have endodermal cells detached from the gut epithelium with decreased junctional cadherin staining, indicating that Arf6 may mediate the recycling of cadherin. Thus, Arf6 impacts cells that undergo coordinated movement to form embryonic structures in the developing embryo.
Project description:Development of the mammalian inner ear requires coordination of cell proliferation, cell fate determination and morphogenetic movements. While significant progress has been made in identifying developmental signals required for inner ear formation, less is known about how distinct signals are coordinated by their downstream mediators. Members of the Rac family of small GTPases are known regulators of cytoskeletal remodeling and numerous other cellular processes. However, the function of Rac GTPases in otic development is largely unexplored. Here, we show that Rac1 and Rac3 redundantly regulate many aspects of inner ear morphogenesis. While no morphological defects were observed in Rac3(-/-) mice, Rac1(CKO); Rac3(-/-) double mutants displayed enhanced vestibular and cochlear malformations compared to Rac1(CKO) single mutants. Moreover, in Rac1(CKO); Rac3(-/-) mutants, we observed compromised E-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion, reduced cell proliferation and increased cell death in the early developing otocyst, leading to a decreased size and malformation of the membranous labyrinth. Finally, cochlear extension was severely disrupted in Rac1(CKO); Rac3(-/-) mutants, accompanied by a loss of epithelial cohesion and formation of ectopic sensory patches underneath the cochlear duct. The compartmentalized expression of otic patterning genes within the Rac1(CKO); Rac3(-/-) mutant otocyst was largely normal, however, indicating that Rac proteins regulate inner ear morphogenesis without affecting cell fate specification. Taken together, our results reveal an essential role for Rac GTPases in coordinating cell adhesion, cell proliferation, cell death and cell movements during otic development.
Project description:The hereditary spastic paraplegias (SPG1-33) comprise a cluster of inherited neurological disorders characterized principally by lower extremity spasticity and weakness due to a length-dependent, retrograde axonopathy of corticospinal motor neurons. Mutations in the gene encoding the large oligomeric GTPase atlastin-1 are responsible for SPG3A, a common autosomal dominant hereditary spastic paraplegia. Here we describe a family of human GTPases, atlastin-2 and -3 that are closely related to atlastin-1. Interestingly, while atlastin-1 is predominantly localized to vesicular tubular complexes and cis-Golgi cisternae, mostly in brain, atlastin-2 and -3 are localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and are most enriched in other tissues. Knockdown of atlastin-2 and -3 levels in HeLa cells using siRNA (small interfering RNA) causes disruption of Golgi morphology, and these Golgi structures remain sensitive to brefeldin A treatment. Interestingly, expression of SPG3A mutant or dominant-negative atlastin proteins lacking GTPase activity causes prominent inhibition of ER reticularization, suggesting a role for atlastin GTPases in the formation of three-way junctions in the ER. However, secretory pathway trafficking as assessed using vesicular stomatitis virus G protein fused to green fluorescent protein (VSVG-GFP) as a reporter was essentially normal in both knockdown and dominant-negative overexpression conditions for all atlastins. Thus, the atlastin family of GTPases functions prominently in both ER and Golgi morphogenesis, but they do not appear to be required generally for anterograde ER-to-Golgi trafficking. Abnormal morphogenesis of the ER and Golgi resulting from mutations in atlastin-1 may ultimately underlie SPG3A by interfering with proper membrane distribution or polarity of the long corticospinal motor neurons.
Project description:Dendrite morphogenesis is regulated by neuronal activity or neurotrophins, which may function by activating intrinsic signaling proteins, including Rho family GTPases. Here we report that activity- and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)-dependent dendritic morphogenesis requires activation of geranylgeranyltransferase I (GGT), a prenyltransferase that mediates lipid modification of Rho GTPases. Dendritic arborization in cultured hippocampal neurons was promoted by over-expression of GGT, and reduced by inhibition or down-regulation of GGT. Furthermore, GGT was activated by neuronal depolarization or BDNF, both of which promote dendritic arborization, in cultured hippocampal neurons. Moreover, exploration of a novel environment caused activation of GGT in the mice hippocampus, suggesting that neural activity activates GGT in vivo. Interestingly, GGT was physically associated with tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB), the receptor for BDNF, and this association was enhanced by depolarization. Disrupting the GGT-TrkB interaction or down-regulating GGT activity attenuated depolarization- or BDNF-induced dendrite development. Finally, the GGT effect on dendrite arborization was prevented by over-expressing Rac1 with the prenylation site deleted or mutated. Thus depolarization- or BDNF-dependent dendrite development may be mediated by GGT-induced prenylation of Rho GTPases.
Project description:The small GTPases RhoA and Rac1 are key cytoskeletal regulators that function in a mutually antagonistic manner to control the migration and morphogenesis of a broad range of cell types. However, their role in shaping the cerebellum, a unique brain structure composed of an elaborate set of folia separated by fissures of different lengths, remains largely unexplored. Here we show that dysregulation of both RhoA and Rac1 signaling results in abnormal cerebellar ontogenesis. Ablation of RhoA from neuroprogenitor cells drastically alters the timing and placement of fissure formation, the migration and positioning of granule and Purkinje cells, the alignment of Bergmann glia, and the integrity of the basement membrane, primarily in the anterior lobules. Furthermore, in the absence of RhoA, granule cell precursors located at the base of fissures fail to undergo cell shape changes required for fissure initiation. Many of these abnormalities can be recapitulated by deleting RhoA specifically from granule cell precursors but not postnatal glia, indicating that RhoA functions in granule cell precursors to control cerebellar morphogenesis. Notably, mice with elevated Rac1 activity due to loss of the Rac1 inhibitors Bcr and Abr show similar anterior cerebellar deficits, including ectopic neurons and defects in fissure formation, Bergmann glia organization and basement membrane integrity. Together, our results suggest that RhoA and Rac1 play indispensable roles in patterning cerebellar morphology.
Project description:Monomeric GTPases, which belong to the Ras superfamily, are small proteins involved in many biological processes. They are fine-tuned regulated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Several families have been identified in organisms from different kingdoms. Overall, the most studied families are Ras, Rho, Rab, Ran, Arf, and Miro. Recently, a new family named Big Ras GTPases was reported. As a general rule, the proteins of all families have five characteristic motifs (G1-G5), and some specific features for each family have been described. Here, we present an exhaustive analysis of these small GTPase families in fungi, using 56 different genomes belonging to different phyla. For this purpose, we used distinct approaches such as phylogenetics and sequences analysis. The main functions described for monomeric GTPases in fungi include morphogenesis, secondary metabolism, vesicle trafficking, and virulence, which are discussed here. Their participation during fungus-plant interactions is reviewed as well.