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Bio Protoc. 2016 Feb 20;6(4). pii: e1738. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.1738.

RAB21 Activity Assay Using GST-fused APPL1.

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1
Département d'anatomie et de biologie cellulaire, Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la Santé, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada.
2
Division of Biological Sciences, University of California, San Diego, USA.

Abstract

The Rab family of small GTPases are essential regulators of membrane trafficking events. As with other small GTPase families, Rab GTPases cycle between an inactive GDP-bound state and an active GTP-bound state. Guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) promote Rab activation with the exchange of bound GDP for GTP, while GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) regulate Rab inactivation with GTP hydrolysis. Numerous methods have been established to monitor the activation status of Rab GTPases. Of those, FRET-based methods are used to identify when and where a Rab GTPase is activated in cells. Unfortunately, the generation of such probes is complex, and only a limited number of Rabs have been probed this way. Biochemical purification of activated Rabs from cell or tissue extracts is easily achievable through the use of a known Rab effector domain to pull down a specific GTP-bound Rab form. Although this method is not ideal for detailed subcellular localization, it can offer temporal resolution of Rab activity. The identification of a growing number of specific effectors now allows tests for activation levels of many Rab GTPases in specific conditions. Here, we described an affinity purification approach using GST fused APPL1 (a known RAB21 effector) to test RAB21 activation in mammalian cells. This method was successfully used to assay changes in RAB21 activation status under nutrient rich versus starved conditions and to test the requirement of the MTMR13 RAB21 GEF in this process.

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