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Small GTPases. 2018 Mar 4;9(1-2):145-157. doi: 10.1080/21541248.2016.1277001. Epub 2017 Apr 13.

Critical importance of RAB proteins for synaptic function.

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a Molecular Genetics of Intellectual Disabilities Unit, Division of Neuroscience at IRCCS San Raffaele Scientific Institute , Milan , Italy.


Neurons are highly polarized cells that exhibit one of the more complex morphology and function. Neuronal intracellular trafficking plays a key role in dictating the directionality and specificity of vesicle formation, transport and fusion, allowing the transmission of information in sophisticate cellular network. Thus, the integrity of protein trafficking and spatial organization is especially important in neuronal cells. RAB proteins, small monomeric GTPases belonging to the RAS superfamily, spatially and temporally orchestrate specific vesicular trafficking steps. In this review we summarise the known roles of RAB GTPases involved in the maintenance of neuronal vesicular trafficking in the central nervous system. In particular, we discriminate the axonal pre-synaptic trafficking and dendritic post-synaptic trafficking, to better underlie how a correct orchestration of vesicle movement is necessary to maintain neuronal polarity and then, to permit an accurate architecture and functionality of synaptic activity.


RAB GTPases; axon; dendrite; neuronal cells; neuronal trafficking; post-synaptic; pre-synaptic; synaptic function; vesicle transport

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