Regulation of rho GTPases by crosstalk and neuronal activity in vivo

Neuron. 2002 Feb 28;33(5):741-50. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(02)00621-9.


Proper development of neurons depends on synaptic activity, but the mechanisms of activity-dependent neuronal growth are not well understood. The small GTPases, RhoA, Rac, and Cdc42, regulate neuronal morphogenesis by controlling the assembly and stability of the actin cytoskeleton. We report an in situ method to determine endogenous Rho GTPase activity in intact Xenopus brain. We use this method to provide evidence for crosstalk between Rho GTPases in optic tectal cells. Moreover, crosstalk between the Rho GTPases appears to affect dendritic arbor development in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that optic nerve stimulation regulates Rho GTPase activity in a glutamate receptor-dependent manner. These data suggest a link between glutamate receptor function, Rho GTPase activity, and dendritic arbor growth in the intact animal.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Larva
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Optic Nerve / physiology
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins