The Rab21-GEF activity of Varp, but not its Rab32/38 effector function, is required for dendrite formation in melanocytes

Norihiko Ohbayashi, Ayaka Yatsu, Kanako Tamura, Mitsunori Fukuda

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Vacuolar protein sorting 9 (VPS9)-ankyrin-repeat protein (Varp) has recently been identified as an effector molecule for two small GTPases-Rab32 and Rab38-in the transport of a melanogenic enzyme tyrosinase-related protein 1 (Tyrp1) to melanosomes in melanocytes. Although Varp contains a Rab21-guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) domain (i.e., VPS9 domain), since Rab21-GEF activity is not required for Tyrp1 transport, nothing is known about the physiological significance of the Rab21-GEF activity in melanocytes. Here we show by knockdown-rescue experiments that the Rab21-GEF activity of Varp, but not its Rab32/38 effector function, is required for forskolin-induced dendrite formation of cultured melanocytes. We found that Varp-deficient cells are unable to extend dendrites in response to forskolin stimulation and that reexpression of wild-type Varp or a Rab32/38-binding-deficient mutant Varp(Q509A/Y550A) in Varp-deficient cells completely restores their ability to form dendrites. By contrast, VPS9 mutants (D310A and Y350A) and a vesicle-associated membrane protein 7 (VAMP7)-binding-deficient mutant were unable to support forskolin-induced dendrite formation in Varp-deficient cells. These findings indicate that the Rab21-GEF activity and Rab32/38 binding activity of Varp are required for different melanocyte functions, that is, Rab21 activation by the VPS9 domain is required for dendrite formation, and the Rab32/38 effector function of the ankyrin repeat 1 domain is required for Tyrp1 transport to melanosomes, although VAMP7-binding ability is required for both functions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)669-678
    Number of pages10
    JournalMolecular biology of the cell
    Volume23
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012 Feb 15

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Cell Biology

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