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1.  Sec5 and Exo84 Mediate Distinct Aspects of RalA-Dependent Cell Polarization 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39602.
Metastasis is a complex process during which several gross cellular changes occur. Cells must dissociate from the tumor mass and gain the ability to degrade extracellular matrix and migrate in order to ultimately attach and form a satellite tumor. Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton is an indispensible aspect of cell migration, and many different factors have been implicated in this process. We identified interactions between RalA and its effectors in the Exocyst complex as directly necessary for migration and invasion of prostate cancer tumor cells. Blocking RalA-Exocyst binding caused significant morphological changes and defects in single and coordinated cell migration.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039602
PMCID: PMC3382198  PMID: 22761837
2.  RalA and RalB differentially regulate development of epithelial tight junctions 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(24):4787-4800.
The closely related GTPases RalA and RalB are required for assembly of tight junction gate, but not fence, function. These activities depend on direct binding to the exocyst complex. Whereas RalA–exocyst complexes are required for exocytosis of junction proteins, RalB–exocyst complexes are required for endocytosis of these components.
Tight junctions (TJs) are structures indispensable to epithelial cells and are responsible for regulation of paracellular diffusion and maintenance of cellular polarity. Although many interactions between TJ constituents have been identified, questions remain concerning how specific functions of TJs are established and regulated. Here we investigated the roles of Ral GTPases and their common effector exocyst complex in the formation of nascent TJs. Unexpectedly, RNA interference–mediated suppression of RalA or RalB caused opposing changes in TJ development. RalA reduction increased paracellular permeability and decreased incorporation of components into TJs, whereas RalB reduction decreased paracellular permeability and increased incorporation of components into TJs. Activities of both Ral GTPases were mediated through the exocyst. Finally, we show that TJ-mediated separation of apical–basal membrane domains is established prior to equilibration of barrier function and that it is unaffected by Ral knockdown or specific composition of TJs.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E11-07-0657
PMCID: PMC3237622  PMID: 22013078
3.  RalB and the exocyst mediate the cellular starvation response by direct activation of autophagosome assembly 
Cell  2011;144(2):253-267.
The study of macroautophagy in mammalian cells has described induction, vesicle nucleation, and membrane elongation complexes as key signaling intermediates driving autophagosome biogenesis. How these components are recruited to nascent autophagosomes is poorly understood, and although much is known about signaling mechanisms that restrain autophagy, the nature of positive inductive signals that can promote autophagy remain cryptic. We find that the Ras-like small G-protein, RalB, is localized to nascent autophagosomes and is activated upon nutrient deprivation. RalB and its effector Exo84 are required for nutrient starvation-induced autophagocytosis, and RalB activation is sufficient to promote autophagosome formation. Through direct binding to Exo84, RalB induces the assembly of catalytically active ULK1 and Beclin1-VPS34 complexes on the exocyst, which are required for isolation membrane formation and maturation. Thus, RalB signaling is a primary adaptive response to nutrient limitation that directly engages autophagocytosis through mobilization of the core vesicle nucleation machinery.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.12.018
PMCID: PMC3038590  PMID: 21241894

Results 1-3 (3)