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J Cell Sci. 2012 Oct 15;125(Pt 20):4693-702. doi: 10.1242/jcs.103440. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

The retromer complex - endosomal protein recycling and beyond.

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  • 1University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, UK.


The retromer complex is a vital element of the endosomal protein sorting machinery that is conserved across all eukaryotes. Retromer is most closely associated with the endosome-to-Golgi retrieval pathway and is necessary to maintain an active pool of hydrolase receptors in the trans-Golgi network. Recent progress in studies of retromer have identified new retromer-interacting proteins, including the WASH complex and cargo such as the Wntless/MIG-14 protein, which now extends the role of retromer beyond the endosome-to-Golgi pathway and has revealed that retromer is required for aspects of endosome-to-plasma membrane sorting and regulation of signalling events. The interactions between the retromer complex and other macromolecular protein complexes now show how endosomal protein sorting is coordinated with actin assembly and movement along microtubules, and place retromer squarely at the centre of a complex set of protein machinery that governs endosomal protein sorting. Dysregulation of retromer-mediated endosomal protein sorting leads to various pathologies, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease and spastic paraplegia and the mechanisms underlying these pathologies are starting to be understood. In this Commentary, I will highlight recent advances in the understanding of retromer-mediated endosomal protein sorting and discuss how retromer contributes to a diverse set of physiological processes.

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