The anaphase-promoting complex regulates the abundance of GLR-1 glutamate receptors in the ventral nerve cord of C. elegans

Curr Biol. 2004 Nov 23;14(22):2057-62. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.11.010.


The anaphase-promoting complex (APC) is a multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets key cell cycle regulatory proteins for degradation. Blockade of APC activity causes mitotic arrest. Recent evidence suggests that the APC may have roles outside the cell cycle. Several studies indicate that ubiquitin plays an important role in regulating synaptic strength. We previously showed that ubiquitin is directly conjugated to GLR-1, a C. elegans non-NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) class glutamate receptor (GluR), resulting in its removal from synapses. By contrast, endocytosis of rodent AMPA GluRs is apparently regulated by ubiquitination of associated scaffolding proteins. Relatively little is known about the E3 ligases that mediate these effects. We examined the effects of perturbing APC function on postmitotic neurons in the nematode C. elegans. Temperature-sensitive mutations in APC subunits increased the abundance of GLR-1 in the ventral nerve cord. Mutations that block clathrin-mediated endocytosis blocked the effects of the APC mutations, suggesting that the APC regulates some aspect of GLR-1 recycling. Overexpression of ubiquitin decreased the density of GLR-1-containing synapses, and APC mutations blunted this effect. APC mutants had locomotion defects consistent with increased synaptic strength. This study defines a novel function for the APC in postmitotic neurons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes / metabolism*


  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • glr-1 protein, C elegans
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligase Complexes
  • Anaphase-Promoting Complex-Cyclosome