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Mol Biol Cell. 2011 Apr 15;22(8):1353-63. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E10-03-0260. Epub 2011 Feb 16.

Subunit organization and Rab interactions of Vps-C protein complexes that control endolysosomal membrane traffic.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-3750, USA.


Traffic through late endolysosomal compartments is regulated by sequential signaling of small G proteins of the Rab5 and Rab7 families. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Vps-C protein complexes CORVET (class C core vacuole/endosome tethering complex) and HOPS (homotypic fusion and protein transport) interact with endolysosomal Rabs to coordinate their signaling activities. To better understand these large and intricate complexes, we performed interaction surveys to assemble domain-level interaction topologies for the eight Vps-C subunits. We identified numerous intersubunit interactions and up to six Rab-binding sites. Functional modules coordinate the major Rab interactions within CORVET and HOPS. The CORVET-specific subunits, Vps3 and Vps8, form a subcomplex and physically and genetically interact with the Rab5 orthologue Vps21. The HOPS-specific subunits, Vps39 and Vps41, also form a subcomplex. Both subunits bind the Rab7 orthologue Ypt7, but with distinct nucleotide specificities. The in vivo functions of four RING-like domains within Vps-C subunits were analyzed and shown to have distinct functions in endolysosomal transport. Finally, we show that the CORVET- and HOPS-specific subunits Vps3 and Vps39 bind the Vps-C core through a common region within the Vps11 C-terminal domain (CTD). Biochemical and genetic experiments demonstrate the importance of these regions, revealing the Vps11 CTD as a key integrator of Vps-C complex assembly, Rab signaling, and endosomal and lysosomal traffic.

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