Forward genetic screens have identified numerous proteins with critical roles in neurotransmission. One particularly fruitful screening target in Drosophila has been TS (temperature-sensitive) paralytic mutants, which have revealed proteins acutely required in neuronal signalling. In the present paper, we review recent insights and current questions from one recently cloned TS paralytic mutant, rbo (rolling blackout). The rbo mutant identifies a putative integral lipase of the pre-synaptic plasma membrane that is required for the SV (synaptic vesicle) cycle. Identification of this mutant adds to a growing body of evidence that lipid-modifying enzymes locally control specialized lipid microenvironments and lipid signalling pathways with key functions regulating neurotransmission strength. The RBO protein is absolutely required for phospholipase C signalling in phototransduction. We posit that RBO might be required to regulate the availability of fusogenic lipids such as phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate and diacylglycerol that may directly modify membrane properties and/or activate lipid-binding fusogenic proteins mediating SV exocytosis.

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