Rab3 dynamically controls protein composition at active zones.

Document Type


Publication Date



Animals-Genetically-Modified, Calcium, Drosophila, Drosophila-Proteins, Excitatory-Postsynaptic-Potentials, Gene-Expression-Regulation, Green-Fluorescent-Proteins, Microscopy-Electron-Transmission, Motor-Endplate, Mutation, Neuromuscular-Junction, Nonlinear-Dynamics, Presynaptic-Terminals, Receptors-Glutamate

First Page


Last Page


JAX Source

Neuron 2009 Dec; 64(5):663-77.


Synaptic transmission requires the localization of presynaptic release machinery to active zones. Mechanisms regulating the abundance of such synaptic proteins at individual release sites are likely determinants of site-specific synaptic efficacy. We now identify a role for the small GTPase Rab3 in regulating the distribution of presynaptic components to active zones. At Drosophila rab3 mutant NMJs, the presynaptic protein Bruchpilot, calcium channels, and electron-dense T bars are concentrated at a fraction of available active zones, leaving the majority of sites devoid of these key presynaptic release components. Late addition of Rab3 to mutant NMJs rapidly reverses this phenotype by recruiting Brp to sites previously lacking the protein, demonstrating that Rab3 can dynamically control the composition of the presynaptic release machinery. While previous studies of Rab3 have focused on its role in the synaptic vesicle cycle, these findings demonstrate an additional and unexpected function for Rab3 in the localization of presynaptic proteins to active zones.