Rho deep in thought.

Mcmullan, Rachel and Nurrish, Stephen J. (2007). Rho deep in thought. Genes & Development, 21(21) pp. 2677–82.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1101/gad.1615807


Neuronal communication underlies all aspects of brain function, including learning, memory, and consciousness. How neurons communicate is controlled by both the formation of neuronal connections during neural development and the regulation of neuronal activity in the adult brain. Rho GTPases have a well-known role in neuronal development, and recent studies published in Genes & Development (Steven et al. 2005; McMullan et al. 2006) have demonstrated that they also regulate neuronal activity in the adult brain—at least in Caenorhabditis elegans. Rho in C. elegans acts as part of a network of Gαq pathways that increase neuronal activity by regulating both production and destruction of the second messenger diacylglycerol (DAG), which is a regulator of synaptic vesicle release. In this issue of Genes & Development, Williams et al. (2007) demonstrate that Gαq acts via the UNC-73RhoGEF to increase Rho activity in neurons, and thus increase levels of DAG. The targets of DAG are known and, in one case, a pathway stretching from binding of ligand on the cell surface to changes in synaptic vesicle priming has been mapped out.

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