ABSTRACT

Regulated exocytosis is an essential process whereby specific cargo proteins are secreted in a stimulus-dependent manner. Cargo-containing secretory granules are synthesized in the trans-Golgi network (TGN); after budding from the TGN, granules undergo modifications, including an increase in size. These changes occur during a poorly understood process called secretory granule maturation. Here, we leverage the Drosophila larval salivary glands as a model to characterize a novel role for Rab GTPases during granule maturation. We find that secretory granules increase in size ∼300-fold between biogenesis and release, and loss of Rab1 or Rab11 reduces granule size. Surprisingly, we find that Rab1 and Rab11 localize to secretory granule membranes. Rab11 associates with granule membranes throughout maturation, and Rab11 recruits Rab1. In turn, Rab1 associates specifically with immature granules and drives granule growth. In addition to roles in granule growth, both Rab1 and Rab11 appear to have additional functions during exocytosis; Rab11 function is necessary for exocytosis, while the presence of Rab1 on immature granules may prevent precocious exocytosis. Overall, these results highlight a new role for Rab GTPases in secretory granule maturation.

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