Cell migration and axon guidance require proper regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in response to extracellular guidance cues. Rho/Rac small GTPases are essential regulators of actin remodeling. Caenorhabditis elegans CED-10 is a Rac1 homolog that is required for various cellular morphological changes and migration events and is under the control of several guidance signaling pathways. There is still considerable uncertainty regarding events following the activation of guidance receptors by extracellular signals and the regulation of actin dynamics based on spatiotemporally restricted Rac activity. Here we show that the VPS9 domain protein RIN-1 acts as a novel effector for CED-10 in C. elegans. The orthologous mammalian Rin1 protein has previously been identified as an effector for Ras GTPase and is now known to function as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rab5 GTPase. We found that RIN-1 specifically binds to the GTP-bound form of CED-10 and that mutations in rin-1 cause significant defects in migration and axon guidance of restricted neuronal cell types including AVM and HSN neurons, in contrast to the various defects observed in ced-10 mutants. Our analyses place RIN-1 in the Slit-Robo genetic pathway that regulates repulsive signaling for dorsoventral axon guidance. In rin-1 mutants, actin accumulated on both the ventral and dorsal sides of the developing HSN neuron, in contrast to its ventral accumulation in wild type. These results strongly suggest that RIN-1 acts as an effector for CED-10/Rac1 and regulates actin remodeling in response to restricted guidance cues.
Fatty acids and isoprenoids can be covalently attached to a variety of proteins. These lipid modifications regulate protein structure, localization and function. Here, we describe a yeast one-hybrid approach based on the G? recruitment system that is useful for identifying sequence motifs those influence lipid modification to recruit proteins to the plasma membrane. Our approach facilitates the isolation of yeast cells expressing lipid-modified proteins via a simple and easy growth selection assay utilizing G-protein signaling that induces diploid formation. In the current study, we selected the N-terminal sequence of G? subunits as a model case to investigate dual lipid modification, i.e., myristoylation and palmitoylation, a modification that is widely conserved from yeast to higher eukaryotes. Our results suggest that both lipid modifications are required for restoration of G-protein signaling. Although we could not differentiate between myristoylation and palmitoylation, N-terminal position 7 and 8 play some critical role. Moreover, we tested the preference for specific amino-acid residues at position 7 and 8 using library-based screening. This new approach will be useful to explore protein-lipid associations and to determine the corresponding sequence motifs.
Drosophila ananassae and its relatives have many advantages as a model of genetic differentiation and speciation. In this report, we examine evolutionary relationships in the ananassae species subgroup using a multi-locus molecular data set, karyotypes, meiotic chromosome configuration, chromosomal inversions, morphological traits, and patterns of reproductive isolation. We describe several new taxa that are the closest known relatives of D. ananassae. Analysis of Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial haplotypes, shared chromosome arrangements, pre-mating isolation and hybrid male sterility suggests that these taxa represent a recent evolutionary radiation and may experience substantial gene flow. We discuss possible evolutionary histories of these species and give a formal description of one of them as D. parapallidosa Tobari sp. n. The comparative framework established by this study, combined with the recent sequencing of the D. ananassae genome, will facilitate future studies of reproductive isolation, phenotypic variation and genome evolution in this lineage.
We have previously shown that the AEX-1 protein, which is expressed in postsynaptic muscles, retrogradely regulates presynaptic neural activity at the Caenorhabditis elegans neuromuscular junctions. AEX-1 is similar to vertebrate Munc13-4 protein, suggesting a function for vesicle exocytosis from a kind of cells. Compared to emerging evidences of the role of Munc13 proteins in synaptic vesicle release, however, the precise mechanism for vesicle exocytosis by AEX-1 and Munc13-4 is little understood. Here we have identified SYN-1 as a candidate molecule of AEX-1-dependent vesicle exocytosis from non-neuronal cells. The syn-1 gene encodes a C. elegans syntaxin, which is distantly related to the neuronal syntaxin UNC-64. The syn-1 gene is predominantly expressed in non-neuronal tissues and genetically interacts with aex-1 for presynaptic activity. However, the two proteins did not interact physically in our yeast two-hybrid system and mutational SYN-1 did not bypass the requirement of AEX-1 for the behavioral defects in aex-1 mutants, whereas mutant UNC-64 does in unc-13 mutants. These results suggest that a novel molecular interaction between the AEX-1 and syntaxin may regulate vesicle exocytosis for retrograde signal release.
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