Ras-family GTPases regulate a wide variety of cellular functions including cell growth and differentiation. Di-Ras, which belongs to a distinct subfamily of Ras-family GTPases, is expressed predominantly in brain, but the role of Di-Ras in nervous systems remains totally unknown. Here, we report that the Caenorhabditis elegans Di-Ras homologue drn-1 is expressed specifically in neuronal cells and involved in synaptic function at neuromuscular junctions. Loss of function of drn-1 conferred resistance to the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor aldicarb and partially suppressed the aldicarb-hypersensitive phenotypes of heterotrimeric G-protein mutants, in which acetylcholine release is up-regulated. drn-1 mutants displayed no apparent defects in the axonal distribution of the membrane-bound second messenger diacylglycerol (DAG), which is a key stimulator of acetylcholine release. Finally, we have identified EPAC-1, a C. elegans Epac homologue, as a binding partner for DRN-1. Deletion mutants of epac-1 displayed an aldicarb-resistant phenotype as drn-1 mutants. Genetic analysis of drn-1 and epac-1 showed that they acted in the same pathway to control acetylcholine release. Furthermore, DRN-1 and EPAC-1 were co-immunoprecipitated. These findings suggest that DRN-1 may function cooperatively with EPAC-1 to modulate synaptic activity in C. elegans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology