Asymmetric Neuroblast Divisions Producing Apoptotic Cells Require the Cytohesin GRP-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans
Jerome Teuliere, Shaun Cordes, Aakanksha Singhvi, Karla Talavera, Gian Garriga

Abstract

Cytohesins are Arf guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that regulate membrane trafficking and actin cytoskeletal dynamics. We report here that GRP-1, the sole Caenorhabditis elegans cytohesin, controls the asymmetric divisions of certain neuroblasts that divide to produce a larger neuronal precursor or neuron and a smaller cell fated to die. In the Q neuroblast lineage, loss of GRP-1 led to the production of daughter cells that are more similar in size and to the transformation of the normally apoptotic daughter into its sister, resulting in the production of extra neurons. Genetic interactions suggest that GRP-1 functions with the previously described Arf GAP CNT-2 and two other Arf GEFs, EFA-6 and BRIS-1, to regulate the activity of Arf GTPases. In agreement with this model, we show that GRP-1's GEF activity, mediated by its SEC7 domain, is necessary for the Q.p neuroblast division and that both GRP-1 and CNT-2 function in the Q.p cell to promote its asymmetry. Although functional GFP-tagged GRP-1 proteins localized to the nucleus, the extra cell defects were rescued by targeting the Arf GEF activity of GRP-1 to the plasma membrane, suggesting that GRP-1 acts at the plasma membrane. The detection of endogenous GRP-1 protein at cytokinesis remnants, or midbodies, is consistent with GRP-1 functioning at the plasma membrane and perhaps at the cytokinetic furrow to promote the asymmetry of the divisions that require its function.

  • Received June 10, 2014.
  • Accepted July 10, 2014.