Peripheral axonal ensheathment is regulated by RalA GTPase and the exocyst complex

Joana F. Silva-Rodrigues, Cátia F. Patrício-Rodrigues, Vicente de Sousa-Xavier, Pedro M. Augusto, Ana C. Fernandes, Ana R. Farinho, João P. Martins, Rita O. Teodoro

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Axon ensheathment is fundamental for fast impulse conduction and the normal physiological functioning of the nervous system. Defects in axonal insulation lead to debilitating conditions, but, despite its importance, the molecular players responsible are poorly defined. Here, we identify RalA GTPase as a key player in axon ensheathment in Drosophila larval peripheral nerves. We demonstrate through genetic analysis that RalA action through the exocyst complex is required in wrapping glial cells to regulate their growth and development. We suggest that the RalA-exocyst pathway controls the targeting of secretory vesicles for membrane growth or for the secretion of a wrapping glia-derived factor that itself regulates growth. In summary, our findings provide a new molecular understanding of the process by which axons are ensheathed in vivo, a process that is crucial for normal neuronal function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev174540
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge, England)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


  • Axonal ensheathment
  • Drosophila
  • Exocyst
  • RalA GTPase
  • Wrapping glia


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