Indexed on: 05 Aug '14Published on: 05 Aug '14Published in: Experimental Cell Research
Vesicular/membrane trafficking essentially regulates the compartmentalization and abundance of proteins within the cells and contributes in many signalling pathways. This membrane transport in eukaryotic cells is a complex process regulated by a large and diverse array of proteins. A large group of monomeric small GTPases; the Rabs are essential components of this membrane trafficking route. Most of the Rabs are ubiquitously expressed proteins and have been implicated in vesicle formation, vesicle motility/delivery along cytoskeleton elements and docking/fusion at target membranes through the recruitment of effectors. Functional impairments of Rabs affecting transport pathways manifest different diseases. Rab functions are accompanied by cyclical activation and inactivation of GTP-bound and GDP-bound forms between the cytosol and membranes which is regulated by upstream regulators. Rab proteins are characterized by their distinct sub-cellular localization and regulate a wide variety of endocytic, transcytic and exocytic transport pathways. Mutations of Rabs affect cell growth, motility and other biological processes.