Dock3 regulates BDNF-TrkB signaling for neurite outgrowth by forming a ternary complex with Elmo and RhoG.
ABSTRACT Dock3, a new member of the guanine nucleotide exchange factor family, causes cellular morphological changes by activating the small GTPase Rac1. Overexpression of Dock3 in neural cells promotes neurite outgrowth through the formation of a protein complex with Fyn and WAVE downstream of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) signaling. Here, we report a novel Dock3-mediated BDNF pathway for neurite outgrowth. We show that Dock3 forms a complex with Elmo and activated RhoG downstream of BDNF-TrkB signaling and induces neurite outgrowth via Rac1 activation in PC12 cells. We also show the importance of Dock3 phosphorylation in Rac1 activation and show two key events that are necessary for efficient Dock3 phosphorylation: membrane recruitment of Dock3 and interaction of Dock3 with Elmo. These results suggest that Dock3 plays important roles downstream of BDNF signaling in the central nervous system where it stimulates actin polymerization by multiple pathways.