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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 19;280(33):29921-8. Epub 2005 Jun 24.

The Small GTPase RalA controls exocytosis of large dense core secretory granules by interacting with ARF6-dependent phospholipase D1.

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  • 1Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Propre de Recherche 2356 Neurotransmission and Sécrétion Neuroendocrine, Strasbourg France.


RalA and RalB constitute a family of highly similar Ras-related GTPases widely distributed in different tissues. Recently, active forms of Ral proteins have been shown to bind to the exocyst complex, implicating them in the regulation of cellular secretion. Since RalA is present on the plasma membrane in neuroendocrine chromaffin and PC12 cells, we investigated the potential role of RalA in calcium-regulated exocytotic secretion. We show here that endogenous RalA is activated during exocytosis. Expression of the constitutively active RalA (G23V) mutant enhances secretagogue-evoked secretion from PC12 cells. Conversely, expression of the constitutively inactive GDP-bound RalA (G26A) or silencing of the RalA gene by RNA interference led to a strong impairment of the exocytotic response. RalA was found to co-localize with phospholipase D1 (PLD1) at the plasma membrane in PC12 cells. We demonstrate that cell stimulation triggers a direct interaction between RalA and ARF6-activated PLD1. Moreover, reduction of endogenous RalA expression level interfered with the activation of PLD1 observed in secretagogue-stimulated cells. Finally, using various RalA mutants selectively impaired in their ability to activate downstream effectors, we show that PLD1 activation is essential for the activation of secretion by GTP-loaded RalA. Together, these results provide evidence that RalA is a positive regulator of calcium-evoked exocytosis of large dense core secretory granules and suggest that stimulation of PLD1 and consequent changes in plasma membrane phospholipid composition is the major function RalA undertakes in calcium-regulated exocytosis.

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