Regulated membrane trafficking of AMPA-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) is a key mechanism underlying synaptic plasticity, yet the pathways used by AMPARs are not well understood. In this paper, we show that the AMPAR subunit GLR-1 in Caenorhabditis elegans utilizes the retrograde transport pathway to regulate AMPAR synaptic abundance. Mutants for rab-6.2, the retromer genes vps-35 and snx-1, and rme-8 failed to recycle GLR-1 receptors, resulting in GLR-1 turnover and behavioral defects indicative of diminished GLR-1 function. In contrast, expression of constitutively active RAB-6.2 drove the retrograde transport of GLR-1 from dendrites back to cell body Golgi. We also find that activated RAB-6.2 bound to and colocalized with the PDZ/phosphotyrosine binding domain protein LIN-10. RAB-6.2 recruited LIN-10. Moreover, the regulation of GLR-1 transport by RAB-6.2 required LIN-10 activity. Our results demonstrate a novel role for RAB-6.2, its effector LIN-10, and the retromer complex in maintaining synaptic strength by recycling AMPARs along the retrograde transport pathway.
Oxygen influences behaviour in many organisms, with low levels (hypoxia) having devastating consequences for neuron survival. How neurons respond physiologically to counter the effects of hypoxia is not fully understood. Here, we show that hypoxia regulates the trafficking of the glutamate receptor GLR-1 in C. elegans neurons. Either hypoxia or mutations in egl-9, a prolyl hydroxylase cellular oxygen sensor, result in the internalization of GLR-1, the reduction of glutamate-activated currents, and the depression of GLR-1-mediated behaviours. Surprisingly, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1, the canonical substrate of EGL-9, is not required for this effect. Instead, EGL-9 interacts with the Mint orthologue LIN-10, a mediator of GLR-1 membrane recycling, to promote LIN-10 subcellular localization in an oxygen-dependent manner. The observed effects of hypoxia and egl-9 mutations require the activity of the proline-directed CDK-5 kinase and the CDK-5 phosphorylation sites on LIN-10, suggesting that EGL-9 and CDK-5 compete in an oxygen-dependent manner to regulate LIN-10 activity and thus GLR-1 trafficking. Our findings demonstrate a novel mechanism by which neurons sense and respond to hypoxia.
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is known for its role in promoting cell division and cellular differentiation in developing animals, but we know surprising little about what EGF does in vivo in mature adult animals. Here I review EGF signaling, emphasizing several recent studies that uncovered an unexpected role for EGF in promoting longevity and healthspan in mature adult C. elegans. EGF, acting through phospholipase Cγ and the IP3 receptor signaling, maintains pharyngeal and body wall muscle function in aging adults, and delays the accumulation of lipofuscin-enriched aging pigments within intestinal cells. EGF also acts through the Ras/ERK pathway to regulate protein homeostasis by promoting the expression of antioxidant genes, stimulating the activity of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS), and repressing the expression of small heat shock protein chaperones. The effects of EGF signaling on lifespan are largely independent of Insulin/IGF-like Signaling (IIS), as the effects of EGF signaling mutants on lifespan and heathspan are not affected by mutations in the DAF-2 insulin receptor or the DAF-16 FOXO transcription factor. Nevertheless, these two signal pathways have multiple points of overlap, coordination, and cross regulation. I propose that the IIS and EGF signaling pathways respond to environment and to developmental timing, respectively, so as to coordinate the appropriate physiological strategy that cells use to maintain protein homeostasis.