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FEBS Lett. 2001 Jun 8;498(2-3):197-200.

Prenylation of Rab GTPases: molecular mechanisms and involvement in genetic disease.

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Cell and Molecular Biology Section, Division of Biomedical Sciences, Imperial College School of Medicine, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Exhibition Road, SW7 2AZ, London, UK.


Small GTPases of the Rab family regulate membrane transport pathways. More than 50 mammalian Rab proteins are known, many with transport step-specific localisation. Rabs must associate with cellular membranes for activity and membrane attachment is mediated by prenyl (geranylgeranyl) post-translational modification. Mutations in genes encoding proteins essential for the geranylgeranylation reaction, Rab escort protein and Rab geranylgeranyl transferase, underlie genetic diseases. Choroideremia patients have loss of function mutations in REP1 and the murine Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome model gunmetal possesses a splice-site mutation in the alpha-subunit of RGGT. Here we discuss recent insights into Rab prenylation and advances towards our understanding of both diseases.

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