Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19261846
J. Cell. Sci. 2009 Mar;122(Pt 6):798-806
Rho GTPases are crucial regulators of actin cytoskeletal rearrangements and play important roles in many cell functions linked to membrane trafficking processes. In neuroendocrine cells, we have previously demonstrated that RhoA and Cdc42 mediate part of the actin remodelling and vesicular trafficking events that are required for the release of hormones by exocytosis. Here, we investigate the functional importance of Rac1 for the exocytotic reaction and dissect the downstream and upstream molecular events that might integrate it to the exocytotic machinery. Using PC12 cells, we found that Rac1 is associated with the plasma membrane and is activated during exocytosis. Silencing of Rac1 by siRNA inhibits hormone release, prevents secretagogue (high K(+))-evoked phospholipase D1 (PLD1) activation and blocks the formation of phosphatidic acid at the plasma membrane. We identify betaPix as the guanine nucleotide-exchange factor integrating Rac1 activation to PLD1 and the exocytotic process. Finally, we show that the presence of the scaffolding protein Scrib at the plasma membrane is essential for betaPix/Rac1-mediated PLD1 activation and exocytosis. As PLD1 has recently emerged as a promoter of membrane fusion in various exocytotic events, our results define a novel molecular pathway linking a Rho GTPase, Rac1, to the final stages of Ca(2+)-regulated exocytosis in neuroendocrine cells.