What are Rab GTPases?
Definition: In humans the Rab GTPase family of proteins consists of approximately 70 members and is part of the larger Ras superfamily of monomeric G proteins. Rab proteins are key in regulating all aspects of membrane trafficking including vesicle formation, movement along actin and tubulin and fusion with membranes. These processes makeup the route by which cell surface receptors are trafficked to the cell surface and recycled and cargo is moved between a variety of organelles.
Specific Rabs are physically associated with each organelle as well as their associated transport vesicles. Similar to other GTPases, Rab proteins exist in two conformations; the inactive GDP bound form and the active GTP bound form. The switch between the two forms is regulated by GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) and GDP/GTP exchange factors (GEFs). Rab dysfunction is implicated in a number of disease states from infectious diseases to cancer.
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