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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2012 Dec;69(24):4093-106. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1021-6. Epub 2012 May 13.

Are Rab proteins the link between Golgi organization and membrane trafficking?

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


The fundamental separation of Golgi function between subcompartments termed cisternae is conserved across all eukaryotes. Likewise, Rab proteins, small GTPases of the Ras superfamily, are putative common coordinators of Golgi organization and protein transport. However, despite sequence conservation, e.g., Rab6 and Ypt6 are conserved proteins between humans and yeast, the fundamental organization of the organelle can vary profoundly. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Golgi cisternae are physically separated from one another, while in mammalian cells, the cisternae are stacked one upon the other. Moreover, in mammalian cells, many Golgi stacks are typically linked together to generate a ribbon structure. Do evolutionarily conserved Rab proteins regulate secretory membrane trafficking and diverse Golgi organization in a common manner? In mammalian cells, some Golgi-associated Rab proteins function in coordination of protein transport and maintenance of Golgi organization. These include Rab6, Rab33B, Rab1, Rab2, Rab18, and Rab43. In yeast, these include Ypt1, Ypt32, and Ypt6. Here, based on evidence from both yeast and mammalian cells, we speculate on the essential role of Rab proteins in Golgi organization and protein transport.

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