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Traffic. 2013 Jul;14(7):749-66. doi: 10.1111/tra.12069. Epub 2013 Apr 24.

The BEACH is hot: a LYST of emerging roles for BEACH-domain containing proteins in human disease.

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Medical Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


BEACH (named after 'Beige and Chediak-Higashi') is a conserved ∼280 residue domain, present in nine human BEACH domain containing proteins (BDCPs). Most BDCPs are large, containing a PH-like domain for membrane association preceding their BEACH domain, and containing WD40 and other domains for ligand binding. Recent studies found that mutations in individual BDCPs cause several human diseases. BDCP alterations affect lysosome size (LYST and NSMAF), apoptosis (NSMAF), autophagy (LYST, WDFY3, LRBA), granule size (LYST, NBEAL2, NBEA) or synapse formation (NBEA). However, the roles of each BDCP in these membrane events remain controversial. After reviewing studies on individual BDCPs, we propose a unifying hypothesis that BDCPs act as scaffolding proteins that facilitate membrane events, including both fission and fusion, determined by their binding partners. BDCPs may also bind each other, enabling fusion or fission of vesicles that are not necessarily of the same type. Such mechanisms explain why different BDCPs may have roles in autophagy; each BDCP is specific for the cell type or the cargo, but not necessarily specific for attaching to the autophagosome. Further elucidation of these mechanisms, preferably carrying out the same experiment on multiple BDCPs, and possibly using patients' cells, may identify potential targets for therapy.

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