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The F-box protein MEC-15 (FBXW9) promotes synaptic transmission in GABAergic motor neurons in C. elegans.


Ubiquitination controls the activity of many proteins and has been implicated in almost every aspect of neuronal cell biology. Characterizing the precise function of ubiquitin ligases, the enzymes that catalyze ubiquitination of target proteins, is key to understanding distinct functions of ubiquitination. F-box proteins are the variable subunits of the large family of SCF ubiquitin ligases and are responsible for binding and recognizing specific ubiquitination targets. Here, we investigated the function of the F-box protein MEC-15 (FBXW9), one of a small number of F-box proteins evolutionarily conserved from C. elegans to mammals. mec-15 is widely expressed in the nervous system including GABAergic and cholinergic motor neurons. Electrophysiological and behavioral analyses indicate that GABAergic synaptic transmission is reduced in mec-15 mutants while cholinergic transmission appears normal. In the absence of MEC-15, the abundance of the synaptic vesicle protein SNB-1 (synaptobrevin) is reduced at synapses and increased in cell bodies of GABAergic motor neurons, suggesting that MEC-15 affects the trafficking of SNB-1 between cell bodies and synapses and may promote GABA release by regulating the abundance of SNB-1 at synapses.

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