Role of Rab GTPases in Membrane Traffic and Cell PhysiologyAlex H. Hutagalung, Peter J. Novick
- Physiology (medical)
- Molecular Biology
- General Medicine
Intracellular membrane traffic defines a complex network of pathways that connects many of the membrane-bound organelles of eukaryotic cells. Although each pathway is governed by its own set of factors, they all contain Rab GTPases that serve as master regulators. In this review, we discuss how Rabs can regulate virtually all steps of membrane traffic from the formation of the transport vesicle at the donor membrane to its fusion at the target membrane. Some of the many regulatory functions performed by Rabs include interacting with diverse effector proteins that select cargo, promoting vesicle movement, and verifying the correct site of fusion. We describe cascade mechanisms that may define directionality in traffic and ensure that different Rabs do not overlap in the pathways that they regulate. Throughout this review we highlight how Rab dysfunction leads to a variety of disease states ranging from infectious diseases to cancer.