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Small GTPases. 2017 Jan 24:1-10. doi: 10.1080/21541248.2017.1279725. [Epub ahead of print]

Rabs on the fly: Functions of Rab GTPases during development.

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a Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem), University of Copenhagen , Copenhagen , Denmark.
c Institute of Molecular Life Sciences and Ph.D. Program in Molecular Life Sciences, University of Zurich , Zurich , Switzerland.
b Max Planck Institute for Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) , Dresden , Germany.
d Institute of Neurobiology and Cluster of Excellence Cells-in-Motion (EXC 1003 - CiM), University of Münster , Münster , Germany.
e The Biotechnological Center of the TU Dresden (BIOTEC) , Dresden , Germany.


The organization of intracellular transport processes is adapted specifically to different cell types, developmental stages, and physiologic requirements. Some protein traffic routes are universal to all cells and constitutively active, while other routes are cell-type specific, transient, and induced under particular conditions only. Small GTPases of the Rab (Ras related in brain) subfamily are conserved across eukaryotes and regulate most intracellular transit pathways. The complete sets of Rab proteins have been identified in model organisms, and molecular principles underlying Rab functions have been uncovered. Rabs provide intracellular landmarks that define intracellular transport sequences. Nevertheless, it remains a challenge to systematically map the subcellular distribution of all Rabs and their functional interrelations. This task requires novel tools to precisely describe and manipulate the Rab machinery in vivo. Here we discuss recent findings about Rab roles during development and we consider novel approaches to investigate Rab functions in vivo.


Rab GTPases; Staccato/Munc13-4; cell polarity; lysosome related organelles (LROs)

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