Sleep is evolutionarily conserved and required for organism homeostasis and survival. Despite this importance, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying sleep are not well understood. Caenorhabditis elegans exhibits sleep-like behavioral quiescence and thus provides a valuable, simple model system for the study of cellular and molecular regulators of this process. In C. elegans, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is required in the neurosecretory neuron ALA to promote sleep-like behavioral quiescence after cellular stress. We describe a novel role for VAV-1, a conserved guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Rho-family GTPases, in regulation of sleep-like behavioral quiescence. VAV-1, in a GEF-dependent manner, acts in ALA to suppress locomotion and feeding during sleep-like behavioral quiescence in response to cellular stress. Additionally, VAV-1 activity is required for EGF-induced sleep-like quiescence and normal levels of EGFR and secretory dense core vesicles in ALA. Importantly, the role of VAV-1 in promoting cellular stress–induced behavioral quiescence is vital for organism health because VAV-1 is required for normal survival after cellular stress.
- Behavioral quiescence
- Caenorhabditis elegans