RalA and the exocyst complex influence neuronal polarity through PAR-3 and aPKC

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Neuronal polarization requires localized cytoskeletal changes and polarized membrane traffic. Here, I report that the small GTPase RalA, previously shown to control neurite branching, also regulates neuronal polarity. RalA depletion, or ectopic expression of constitutively active RalA in cultured neurons inhibit axon formation. However, expression of a constitutively active RalA mutant that is unable to interact with the exocyst complex has no effect on neuronal polarization. Furthermore, depletion of the Sec6, Sec8 or Exo84 subunits of the exocyst complex also leads to unpolarized neurons. Early stages of neuronal polarization are accompanied by increasing levels of interaction of the exocyst complex with PAR-3 and atypical protein kinase C (aPKC), and by the RalA-dependent association of the exocyst complex with PAR-3. Thus, neuronal polarization involves a RalA-regulated association between mediators of vesicle trafficking (exocyst complex) and cell polarity (PAR-3).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1499 - 1506
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2009


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