Regulation of synaptic transmission by RAB-3 and RAB-27 in Caenorhabditis elegans

Timothy R. Mahoney, Qiang Lin, Takashi Itoh, Shuo Luo, Gayla Hadwiger, Rose Vincent, Zhao Wen Wang, Mitsunori Fukuda, Michael L. Nonet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Rab small GTPases are involved in the transport of vesicles between different membranous organelles. RAB-3 is an exocytic Rab that plays a modulatory role in synaptic transmission. Unexpectedly, mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans RAB-3 exchange factor homologue, aex-3, cause a more severe synaptic transmission defect as well as a defecation defect not seen in rab-3 mutants. We hypothesized that AEX-3 may regulate a second Rab that regulates these processes with RAB-3. We found that AEX-3 regulates another exocytic Rab, RAB-27. Here, we show that C. elegans RAB-27 is localized to synapse-rich regions pan-neuronally and is also expressed in intestinal cells. We identify aex-6 alleles as containing mutations in rab-27. Interestingly, aex-6 mutants exhibit the same defecation defect as aex-3 mutants, aex-6; rab-3 double mutants have behavioral and pharmacological defects similar to aex-3 mutants. In addition, we demonstrate that RBF-1 (rabphilin) is an effector of RAB-27. Therefore, our work demonstrates that AEX-3 regulates both RAB-3 and RAB-27, that both RAB-3 and RAB-27 regulate synaptic transmission, and that RAB-27 potentially acts through its effector RBF-1 to promote soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2617-2625
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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