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Traffic. 2002 Jul;3(7):472-82.

Induction of autophagy causes dramatic changes in the subcellular distribution of GFP-Rab24.

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Laboratorio de Biología Celular y Molecular, Instituto de Histología y Embriología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, CONICET, Mendoza 5500, Argentina.


Rab GTPases comprises a large family of proteins, with more than 50 gene products localized in distinct subcellular compartments. Rab24 is a member of this family whose function is not presently known. In order to elucidate the role of this protein we have generated a GFP-tagged Rab24 and studied the distribution of this chimera by fluorescence microscopy. GFP-Rab24 showed a perinuclear reticular localization that often encircled the nucleus. This reticular pattern partially overlapped with ER markers, cis-Golgi, and the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment. Surprisingly, when GFP-Rab24-transfected cells were starved to induce autophagy the distribution of the protein changed dramatically. GFP-Rab24 localized in large dots, cup-shaped structures and ring-shaped vesicles. Some of these vesicles were labeled with monodansylcadaverine, a specific autophagosome marker. In the presence of vinblastine, an agent that induces the formation of very large autophagic vesicles, GFP-Rab24 accumulated in the large vacuoles that were also labeled by monodansylcadaverine. Furthermore, Rab24 colocalized with LC3, a mammalian homolog of the yeast protein Apg8/Aut7, an essential gene for autophagy. This is the first report indicating that Rab24 localizes on autophagosomes, suggesting that this Rab protein is involved in the autophagic pathway.

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