Apoptotic cells generated by programmed cell death are engulfed by phagocytes and enclosed within plasma membrane-derived phagosomes. Maturation of phagosomes involves a series of membrane-remodeling events that are governed by the sequential actions of Rab GTPases and lead to formation of phagolysosomes, where cell corpses are degraded. Here we identified gop-1 as a novel regulator of apoptotic cell clearance in Caenorhabditis elegans Loss of gop-1 affects phagosome maturation through the RAB-5-positive stage, causing defects in phagosome acidification and phagolysosome formation, phenotypes identical to and unaffected by loss of unc-108, the C. elegans Rab2 GOP-1 transiently associates with cell corpse-containing phagosomes, and loss of its function abrogates phagosomal association of UNC-108. GOP-1 interacts with GDP-bound and nucleotide-free UNC-108/Rab2, disrupts GDI-UNC-108 complexes, and promotes activation and membrane recruitment of UNC-108/Rab2 in vitro. Loss of gop-1 also abolishes association of UNC-108 with endosomes, causing defects in endosome and dense core vesicle maturation. Thus, GOP-1 is an activator of UNC-108/Rab2 in multiple processes.
© 2017 Yin et al.