Direct interactions between C. elegans RAB-3 and Rim provide a mechanism to target vesicles to the presynaptic density

Elena O. Gracheva, Gayla Hadwiger, Michael L. Nonet, Janet E. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Rim is a multi-domain, active zone protein that regulates exocytosis and is implicated in vesicle priming and presynaptic plasticity. We recently demonstrated that synaptic defects associated with loss of Caenorhabditis elegans Rim (termed UNC-10) are accompanied by a reduction in docked vesicles adjacent to the presynaptic density. Since Rim is known to interact with the vesicle-associated GTPase Rab3A, here we asked whether UNC-10-dependent recruitment of synaptic vesicles to the presynaptic density was through an UNC-10/Rab-3 interaction. We first established that C. elegans Rab3 (termed RAB-3) in its GTP but not GDP-bound state interacts with UNC-10. We then demonstrated by EM analysis that rab-3 mutant synapses exhibit the same vesicle-targeting defect as unc-10 mutants. Furthermore, unc-10;rab-3 double mutants phenocopy the targeting defects of the single mutants, suggesting UNC-10 and RAB-3 act in the same pathway to target vesicles at the presynaptic density. Endogenous release of unc-10;rab-3 double mutants was similar to that of unc-10 single mutants, but more severe than rab-3 mutants, suggesting the common targeting defects are reflected by the milder rab-3 release defect. Rim has recently been shown to positively regulate calcium influx through direct interactions with calcium channels. Consistent with this notion we found UNC-10 colocalized with the calcium channel, UNC-2 at C. elegans presynaptic densities and synaptic release in unc-10 and rab-3 mutants exhibit reduced calcium-sensitivity. Together these results suggest that vesicles targeted to the presynaptic density by RAB-3/UNC-10 interactions are ideally positioned for efficient calcium-dependent release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 24 2008


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Calcium channel
  • Docking
  • Rab3
  • Rim
  • Synaptic transmission


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