Functional genomic analysis of the ADP-ribosylation factor family of GTPases: phylogeny among diverse eukaryotes and function in C. elegans.
FASEB J. 2004 Dec . 18(15):1834-50.
ADP-ribosylation factor (Arf) and Arf-like (Arl) proteins are a family of highly conserved 21 kDa GTPases that emerged early in the evolution of eukaryotes. These proteins serve regulatory roles in vesicular traffic, lipid metabolism, microtubule dynamics, development, and likely other cellular processes. We found evidence for the presence of 6 Arf family members in the protist Giardia lamblia and 22 members in mammals. A phylogenetic analysis was performed to delineate the evolutionary relationships among Arf family members and to attempt to organize them by both their evolutionary origins and functions in cells and/or organisms. The approximately 100 protein sequences analyzed from animals, fungi, plants, and protists clustered into 11 groups, including Arfs, nine Arls, and Sar proteins. To begin functional analyses of the family in a metazoan model organism, we examined roles for all three C. elegans Arfs (Arf-1, Arf-3, and Arf-6) and three Arls (Arl-1, Arl-2, and Arl-3) by use of RNA-mediated interference (RNAi). Injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) encoding Arf-1 or Arf-3 into N2 hermaphrodites produced embryonic lethality in their offspring and, later, sterility in the injected animals themselves. Injection of Arl-2 dsRNA resulted in a disorganized germline and sterility in early offspring, with later offspring exhibiting an early embryonic arrest. Thus, of the six Arf family members examined in C. elegans, at least three are required for embryogenesis. These data represent the first analysis of the role(s) of multiple members of this family in the development of a multicellular organism.