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Biosci Rep. 2009 Jun;29(3):193-209. doi: 10.1042/BSR20090032.

Rab7: roles in membrane trafficking and disease.

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  • 1Institute for Biomedical Research, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, 361005, People's Republic of China.


The endocytosis pathway controls multiple cellular and physiological events. The lysosome is the destination of newly synthesized lysosomal hydrolytic enzymes. Internalized molecules or particles are delivered to the lysosome for degradation through sequential transport along the endocytic pathway. The endocytic pathway is also emerging as a signalling platform, in addition to the well-known role of the plasma membrane for signalling. Rab7 is a late endosome-/lysosome-associated small GTPase, perhaps the only lysosomal Rab protein identified to date. Rab7 plays critical roles in the endocytic processes. Through interaction with its partners (including upstream regulators and downstream effectors), Rab7 participates in multiple regulation mechanisms in endosomal sorting, biogenesis of lysosome [or LRO (lysosome-related organelle)] and phagocytosis. These processes are closely related to substrates degradation, antigen presentation, cell signalling, cell survival and microbial pathogen infection. Consistently, mutations or dysfunctions of Rab7 result in traffic disorders, which cause various diseases, such as neuropathy, cancer and lipid metabolism disease. Rab7 also plays important roles in microbial pathogen infection and survival, as well as in participating in the life cycle of viruses. Here, we give a brief review on the central role of Rab7 in endosomal traffic and summarize the studies focusing on the participation of Rab7 in disease pathogenesis. The underlying mechanism governed by Rab7 and its partners will also be discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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