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Exp Cell Res. 2000 Aug 25;259(1):257-65.

Rab11b is essential for recycling of transferrin to the plasma membrane.

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Chair of Genetics, Staudtstrasse 5, Erlangen, D-91058, USA.


Members of the Rab family of small GTPases play important roles in membrane trafficking along the exocytic and endocytic pathways. The Rab11 subfamily consists of two highly conserved members, Rab11a and Rab11b. Rab11a has been localized both to the pericentriolar recycling endosome and to the trans-Golgi network and functions in recycling of transferrin. However, the localization and function of Rab11b are completely unknown. In this study green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Rab11b was used to determine its subcellular localization. GFP-Rab11b colocalized with internalized transferrin, and using different mutants of Rab11b, the role of this protein in transferrin uptake and recycling was examined. Two of these mutants, Rab11b-Q/L (constitutively active) and Rab11b-S/N (constitutively inactive), strongly inhibited the recycling of transferrin. Interestingly, both of them had no effect on transferrin uptake. In contrast, the C-terminally altered mutant Rab11b-DeltaC, which cannot be prenylated and therefore cannot interact with membranes, did not interfere with wild-type Rab11b function. From these data we concluded that functional Rab11b is essential for the transport of internalized transferrin from the recycling compartment to the plasma membrane.

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