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1.  An Overexpression Screen of Toxoplasma gondii Rab-GTPases Reveals Distinct Transport Routes to the Micronemes 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(3):e1003213.
The basic organisation of the endomembrane system is conserved in all eukaryotes and comparative genome analyses provides compelling evidence that the endomembrane system of the last common eukaryotic ancestor (LCEA) is complex with many genes required for regulated traffic being present. Although apicomplexan parasites, causative agents of severe human and animal diseases, appear to have only a basic set of trafficking factors such as Rab-GTPases, they evolved unique secretory organelles (micronemes, rhoptries and dense granules) that are sequentially secreted during invasion of the host cell. In order to define the secretory pathway of apicomplexans, we performed an overexpression screen of Rabs in Toxoplasma gondii and identified Rab5A and Rab5C as important regulators of traffic to micronemes and rhoptries. Intriguingly, we found that not all microneme proteins traffic depends on functional Rab5A and Rab5C, indicating the existence of redundant microneme targeting pathways. Using two-colour super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) we verified distinct localisations of independent microneme proteins and demonstrate that micronemal organelles are organised in distinct subsets or subcompartments. Our results suggest that apicomplexan parasites modify classical regulators of the endocytic system to carryout essential parasite-specific roles in the biogenesis of their unique secretory organelles.
Author Summary
Eukaryotic cells evolved a highly complex endomembrane system, consisting of secretory and endocytic organelles. In the case of apicomplexan parasites unique secretory organelles have evolved that are essential for the invasion of the host cell. Surprisingly these protozoans show a paucity of trafficking factors, such as Rabs and it appears that they lost several factors involved in endocytosis. Here, we demonstrate that Rab5A and Rab5C, normally involved in endocytic uptake, actually regulate secretion in Toxoplasma gondii, since functional ablation of Rab5A or Rab5C results in aberrant transport of proteins to specialised secretory organelles called micronemes and rhoptries. Furthermore, we demonstrate that independent transport routes to micronemes exist indicating that apicomplexans have remodelled Rab5-mediated vesicular traffic into a secretory system that is essential for host cell invasion.
PMCID: PMC3591302  PMID: 23505371
2.  Distinct yet overlapping roles of Rab GTPases on synaptic vesicles 
Small GTPases  2011;2(2):77-81.
Exo-endocytotic cycling of synaptic vesicles (SVs) is one of the most intensely studied membrane trafficking pathways. It is governed by sets of conserved proteins including Rab GTPases. Long considered to define the identity and composition of a subcellular organelle, it has become increasingly evident that multiple Rabs co-exist on intracellular compartments, each contributing to its membrane organization and specialised function. Indeed, we have recently demonstrated that at least 11 distinct Rab proteins co-exist on highly purified SVs. These include Rabs involved in exocytosis (Rab3a/b/c and Rab27b) and intermediates of SV recycling such as early endosomes (Rab4, Rab5, Rab10, Rab11b and Rab14). Interestingly, we found that while two of these proteins, namely Rab3a and Rab27b, exhibited differential cycling dynamics on SV membranes; they played complementary roles during Ca2+-triggered neurotransmitter release. The implications of these findings in the SV trafficking cycle are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3136907  PMID: 21776405
synaptic vesicle; Rab; quantitative proteomics; exocytosis; endocytosis; vesicle cycle; GTPases
3.  Role of Rab GTPases in Membrane Traffic and Cell Physiology 
Physiological reviews  2011;91(1):119-149.
Intracellular membrane traffic defines a complex network of pathways that connects many of the membrane-bound organelles of eukaryotic cells. Although each pathway is governed by its own set of factors, they all contain Rab GTPases that serve as master regulators. In this review, we discuss how Rabs can regulate virtually all steps of membrane traffic from the formation of the transport vesicle at the donor membrane to its fusion at the target membrane. Some of the many regulatory functions performed by Rabs include interacting with diverse effector proteins that select cargo, promoting vesicle movement, and verifying the correct site of fusion. We describe cascade mechanisms that may define directionality in traffic and ensure that different Rabs do not overlap in the pathways that they regulate. Throughout this review we highlight how Rab dysfunction leads to a variety of disease states ranging from infectious diseases to cancer.
PMCID: PMC3710122  PMID: 21248164
4.  Mapping the Interactions between a RUN Domain from DENND5/Rab6IP1 and Sorting Nexin 1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35637.
Eukaryotic cells have developed a diverse repertoire of Rab GTPases to regulate vesicle trafficking pathways. Together with their effector proteins, Rabs mediate various aspects of vesicle formation, tethering, docking and fusion, but details of the biological roles elicited by effectors are largely unknown. Human Rab6 is involved in the trafficking of vesicles at the level of Golgi via interactions with numerous effector proteins. We have previously determined the crystal structure of Rab6 in complex with DENND5, alternatively called Rab6IP1, which comprises two RUN domains (RUN1 and RUN2) separated by a PLAT domain. The structure of Rab6/RUN1-PLAT (Rab6/R1P) revealed the molecular basis for Golgi recruitment of DENND5 via the RUN1 domain, but the functional role of the RUN2 domain has not been well characterized. Here we show that a soluble DENND5 construct encompassing the RUN2 domain binds to the N-terminal region of sorting nexin 1 by surface plasmon resonance analyses.
PMCID: PMC3338420  PMID: 22558185
5.  Golgi-bound Rab34 Is a Novel Member of the Secretory Pathway 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(12):4762-4771.
Golgi-localized Rab34 has been implicated in repositioning lysosomes and activation of macropinocytosis. Using HeLa cells, we undertook a detailed investigation of Rab34 involvement in intracellular vesicle transport. Immunoelectron microscopy and immunocytochemistry confirmed that Rab34 is localized to the Golgi stack and that active Rab34 shifts lysosomes to the cell center. Contrary to a previous report, we found that Rab34 is not concentrated at membrane ruffles and is not involved in fluid-phase uptake. Also, Rab34-induced repositioning of lysosomes does not affect mannose 6-phosphate receptor trafficking. Most strikingly, HeLa cells depleted of Rab34 by transfection with dominant-negative Rab34 or after RNA interference, failed to transport the temperature-sensitive vesicular stomatitis virus G-protein (VSVG) fused to green fluorescent protein (VSVG-GFP) from the Golgi to the plasma membrane. Transfection with mouse Rab34 rescued this defect. Using endogenous major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) as a marker, an endoglycosidase H resistance assay showed that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to medial Golgi traffic remains intact in knockdown cells, indicating that Rab34 specifically functions downstream of the ER. Further, brefeldin A treatment revealed that Rab34 effects intra-Golgi transport, not exit from the trans-Golgi network. Collectively, these results define Rab34 as a novel member of the secretory pathway acting at the Golgi.
PMCID: PMC2096593  PMID: 17881736
6.  Phylogeny and evolution of Rab7 and Rab9 proteins 
An important role in the evolution of intracellular trafficking machinery in eukaryotes played small GTPases belonging to the Rab family known as pivotal regulators of vesicle docking, fusion and transport. The Rab family is very diversified and divided into several specialized subfamilies. We focused on the VII functional group comprising Rab7 and Rab9, two related subfamilies, and analysed 210 sequences of these proteins. Rab7 regulates traffic from early to late endosomes and from late endosome to vacuole/lysosome, whereas Rab9 participates in transport from late endosomes to the trans-Golgi network.
Although Rab7 and Rab9 proteins are quite small and show heterogeneous rates of substitution in different lineages, we found a phylogenetic signal and inferred evolutionary relationships between them. Rab7 proteins evolved before radiation of main eukaryotic supergroups while Rab9 GTPases diverged from Rab7 before split of choanoflagellates and metazoans. Additional duplication of Rab9 and Rab7 proteins resulting in several isoforms occurred in the early evolution of vertebrates and next in teleost fishes and tetrapods. Three Rab7 lineages emerged before divergence of monocots and eudicots and subsequent duplications of Rab7 genes occurred in particular angiosperm clades. Interestingly, several Rab7 copies were identified in some representatives of excavates, ciliates and amoebozoans. The presence of many Rab copies is correlated with significant differences in their expression level. The diversification of analysed Rab subfamilies is also manifested by non-conserved sequences and structural features, many of which are involved in the interaction with regulators and effectors. Individual sites discriminating different subgroups of Rab7 and Rab9 GTPases have been identified.
Phylogenetic reconstructions of Rab7 and Rab9 proteins were performed by a variety of methods. These Rab GTPases show diversification both at the phylogenetic, expression and structural levels. The presence of many Rab7 and Rab9 isoforms suggests their functional specialization and complexity of subcellular trafficking even in unicellular eukaryotes. The identified less conserved regions in analysed Rab sequences may directly contribute to such a differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2693434  PMID: 19442299
7.  Overexpression of a Mutant Form of EhRabA, a Unique Rab GTPase of Entamoeba histolytica, Alters Endoplasmic Reticulum Morphology and Localization of the Gal/GalNAc Adherence Lectin▿  
Eukaryotic Cell  2009;8(7):1014-1026.
Entamoeba histolytica is a protozoan parasite that causes amoebic dysentery and liver abscess. Vesicle trafficking events, such as phagocytosis and delivery of plasma membrane proteins, have been implicated in pathogenicity. Rab GTPases are proteins whose primary function is to regulate vesicle trafficking; therefore, understanding the function of Rabs in this organism may provide insight into virulence. E. histolytica possesses a number of unique Rabs that exhibit limited homology to host Rabs. In this study we examined the function of one such Rab, EhRabA, by characterizing a mutant overexpressing a constitutively GTP-bound version of the protein. Overexpression of mutant EhRabA resulted in decreased adhesion to and phagocytosis of human red blood cells and in the appearance of large tubular organelles that could be stained with endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-specific but not Golgi complex-specific antibodies. Consistent with the adhesion defect, two subunits of a cell surface adhesin, the galactose/N-acetylgalactosamine lectin, were mislocalized to the novel organelle. A cysteine protease, EhCP2, was also localized to the ER-like compartment in the mutant; however, the localization of two additional cell surface proteins, Igl and SREHP, remained unchanged in the mutant. The phenotype of the mutant could be recapitulated by treatment with brefeldin A, a cellular toxin that disrupts ER-to-Golgi apparatus vesicle traffic. This suggests that EhRabA influences vesicle trafficking pathways that are also sensitive to brefeldin A. Together, the data indicate that EhRabA directly or indirectly influences the morphology of secretory organelles and regulates trafficking of a subset of secretory proteins in E. histolytica.
PMCID: PMC2708452  PMID: 19377040
8.  Structural Basis of Membrane Trafficking by Rab Family Small G Protein 
The Ras-superfamily of small G proteins is a family of GTP hydrolases that is regulated by GTP/GDP binding states. One member of the Ras-superfamily, Rab, is involved in the regulation of vesicle trafficking, which is critical to endocytosis, biosynthesis, secretion, cell differentiation and cell growth. The active form of the Rab proteins, which contains GTP, can recruit specific binding partners, such as sorting adaptors, tethering factors, kinases, phosphatases and motor proteins, thereby influencing vesicle formation, transport, and tethering. Many Rab proteins share the same interacting partners and perform unique roles in specific locations. Because functional loss of the Rab pathways has been implicated in a variety of diseases, the Rab GTPase family has been extensively investigated. In this review, we summarize Rab GTPase- mediated membrane trafficking while focusing on the structures of Rab protein and Rab-effector complexes. This review provides detailed information that helps explain how the Rab GTPase family is involved in membrane trafficking.
PMCID: PMC3676764  PMID: 23698755
membrane trafficking; ras-superfamily; small G protein; rab GTPase; protein structure
9.  Comprehensive Analysis Reveals Dynamic and Evolutionary Plasticity of Rab GTPases and Membrane Traffic in Tetrahymena thermophila 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(10):e1001155.
Cellular sophistication is not exclusive to multicellular organisms, and unicellular eukaryotes can resemble differentiated animal cells in their complex network of membrane-bound structures. These comparisons can be illuminated by genome-wide surveys of key gene families. We report a systematic analysis of Rabs in a complex unicellular Ciliate, including gene prediction and phylogenetic clustering, expression profiling based on public data, and Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) tagging. Rabs are monomeric GTPases that regulate membrane traffic. Because Rabs act as compartment-specific determinants, the number of Rabs in an organism reflects intracellular complexity. The Tetrahymena Rab family is similar in size to that in humans and includes both expansions in conserved Rab clades as well as many divergent Rabs. Importantly, more than 90% of Rabs are expressed concurrently in growing cells, while only a small subset appears specialized for other conditions. By localizing most Rabs in living cells, we could assign the majority to specific compartments. These results validated most phylogenetic assignments, but also indicated that some sequence-conserved Rabs were co-opted for novel functions. Our survey uncovered a rare example of a nuclear Rab and substantiated the existence of a previously unrecognized core Rab clade in eukaryotes. Strikingly, several functionally conserved pathways or structures were found to be associated entirely with divergent Rabs. These pathways may have permitted rapid evolution of the associated Rabs or may have arisen independently in diverse lineages and then converged. Thus, characterizing entire gene families can provide insight into the evolutionary flexibility of fundamental cellular pathways.
Author Summary
Single-celled organisms appear simple compared to multicellular organisms, but this may not be true at the level of the individual cell. In fact, microscopic observations suggest that protists can possess networks of organelles just as elaborate as those in animal cells. Consistent with this idea, recent analysis has identified large families of genes in protists that are predicted to act as determinants for complex membrane networks. To test these predictions and to probe relationships between cellular structures across a wide swath of evolution, we focused on one gene family in the single-celled organism Tetrahymena. These genes control the traffic between organelles, with each gene controlling a single step in this traffic. We asked three questions about each of 56 genes in the family. First, what is the gene related to in humans? Second, under what conditions is the gene being used in Tetrahymena? Third, what is the role of each gene? The results provide insights into both the dynamics and evolution of membrane traffic, including the finding that some pathways appearing both structurally and functionally similar in protists and animals are likely to have arisen independently in the two lineages.
PMCID: PMC2954822  PMID: 20976245
10.  RabGEFs are a major determinant for specific Rab membrane targeting 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2013;200(3):287-300.
Analysis of three different Rab-RabGEF pairs reveals that RabGEFs contain the minimal targeting machinery for recruiting Rabs to specific membranes.
Eukaryotic cells critically depend on the correct regulation of intracellular vesicular trafficking to transport biological material. The Rab subfamily of small guanosine triphosphatases controls these processes by acting as a molecular on/off switch. To fulfill their function, active Rab proteins need to localize to intracellular membranes via posttranslationally attached geranylgeranyl lipids. Each member of the manifold Rab family localizes specifically to a distinct membrane, but it is unclear how this specific membrane recruitment is achieved. Here, we demonstrate that Rab-activating guanosine diphosphate/guanosine triphosphate exchange factors (GEFs) display the minimal targeting machinery for recruiting Rabs from the cytosol to the correct membrane using the Rab-GEF pairs Rab5A–Rabex-5, Rab1A-DrrA, and Rab8-Rabin8 as model systems. Specific mistargeting of Rabex-5/DrrA/Rabin8 to mitochondria led to catalytic recruitment of Rab5A/Rab1A/Rab8A in a time-dependent manner that required the catalytic activity of the GEF. Therefore, RabGEFs are major determinants for specific Rab membrane targeting.
PMCID: PMC3563681  PMID: 23382462
11.  Rab-Regulated Interaction of Early Endosomes with Lipid Droplets 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2007;1773(6):784-793.
Recent studies indicate that lipid droplets isolated from a variety of different cells are rich in proteins known to regulate membrane traffic. Among these proteins are multiple Rab GTPases. Rabs are GTP switches that regulate intracellular membrane traffic through an ability to control membrane-membrane docking as well as vesicle motility. Here we present evidence that the multiple Rabs associated with droplets have a function in regulating membrane traffic. Droplet Rabs are removed by Rab GDP-dissociation inhibitor (RabGDI) in a GDP-dependent reaction, and are recruited to Rab-depleted droplets from cytosol in a GTP-dependent reaction. Rabs also control the recruitment of the early endosome (EE) marker EEA1 from cytosol. We use an in vitro reconstitution assay to show that transferrin receptor positive EEs bind to the droplet in a GTP/Rab-dependent reaction that appears not to lead to membrane fusion. This docking reaction is insensitive to ATPγs but is blocked by ATP. Finally, we show that when GTP bound active or GDP bound inactive Rab5 is targeted to the droplet, the active form recruits EEA1. We conclude that the Rabs associated with droplets may be capable of regulating the transient interaction of specific membrane systems, probably to transport lipids between membrane compartments.
PMCID: PMC2676670  PMID: 17395284
12.  Novel interaction of Rab13 and Rab8 with endospanins☆ 
FEBS Open Bio  2013;3:83-88.
Rab GTPases regulate vesicular traffic in eukaryotic cells by cycling between the active GTP-bound and inactive GDP-bound states. Their functions are modulated by the diverse selection of effector proteins that bind to specific Rabs in their activated state. We previously described the expression of Rab13 in bone cells. To search for novel Rab13 interaction partners, we screened a newborn rat bone marrow cDNA library for Rab13 effectors with a bacterial two-hybrid system. We found that Rab13 binds to the C-terminus of Endospanin-2, a small transmembrane protein. In addition to Rab13 also Rab8 bound to Endospanin-2, while no binding of Rab7, Rab10, Rab11 or Rab32 was observed. Rab13 and Rab8 also interacted with Endospanin-1, a close homolog of Endospanin-2. Rab13 and Endospanin-2 colocalised in perinuclear vesicular structures in Cos1 cells suggesting direct binding also in vivo. Endospanin-2 is implicated in the regulation of the cell surface growth hormone receptor (GHR), but the inhibition of Rab13 expression did not affect GHR cell surface expression. This suggests that the Rab13–Endospanin-2 interaction may have functions other than GHR regulation. In conclusion, we have identified a novel interaction for Rab13 and Rab8 with Endospanin-2 and Endospanin-1. The role of this interaction in cell physiology, however, remains to be elucidated.
▸ Rab13 and Rab8 both interact with Endospanin-2 and Endospanin-1. ▸ Rab13 and Rab8 binding to endospanins is specific; Rabs 7, 10, 11 and 32 do not bind. ▸ Rab13 binding to Endospanin-2 is nucleotide-dependent. ▸ Rab13 and Endospanin-2 colocalise in perinuclear vesicles and at the cell periphery.
PMCID: PMC3668521  PMID: 23772379
Vesicle trafficking; Rab13; Rab effector; Protein interaction; Endospanin; Osteoclast; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GFP, green fluorescent protein; GHR, growth hormone receptor; GST, glutathione-S-transferase; HA, human influenza hemagglutinin; MBP, maltose binding protein; OB-R, leptin receptor; VPS55, vacuolar protein sorting 55.
13.  Regulation of G protein-coupled receptor trafficking and signaling by Rab GTPases 
Small GTPases  2013;4(2):132-135.
Rab GTPases play an essential role in the regulation of intracellular transport including the budding, tethering, and fusion of vesicles as well as organelle motility. The regulation of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) trafficking by Rab GTPases has traditionally been regarded as a non-specific process that facilitates the movement of the receptors between intracellular membrane compartments. Thus, alterations in GPCR signal transduction and trafficking following the overexpression of constitutively active and dominant negative Rabs were originally considered to be solely the passive by-product of perturbations in intracellular compartmental dynamics. Recently, an explosion of experimental studies has provided increasingly convincing evidence that receptor trafficking actively affects the signal transduction of cargo proteins and that the signaling of GPCR vesicular cargo can in turn modulate Rab GTPase regulated intracellular transport processes. This research is revealing how different Rabs coordinate with themselves and other regulatory molecules to mediate protein trafficking, as well as uncovers novel functions for traditional Rabs, while illustrating the active role these trafficking molecules play in pathology of disease. Recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Esseltine et al., present a novel role for the typified exocytic small G protein Rab8 in the intracellular trafficking and signal transduction of metabotropic glutamate receptor 1.
PMCID: PMC3747255  PMID: 23511852
G protein-coupled receptors; Rab GTPase; desensitization; endocytosis; glutamate; signaling; trafficking
14.  Hsp90 Co-localizes with Rab-GDI-1 and Regulates Agonist-induced Amylase Release in AR42J Cells 
Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry  2009;24(5-6):369-378.
Rab proteins are small GTPases required for vesicle trafficking through the secretory and endocytic pathways. Rab GDP-dissociation inhibitor (rab-GDI) regulates Rab protein function and localization by maintaining Rab proteins in the GDP-bound conformation. Two isoforms of rab-GDI are present in most mammalian cells: GDI-1 and GDI-2. It has recently been demonstrated that a Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) chaperone complex regulates the interactions between Rab proteins and Rab-GDI-1. The AR42J cell line is derived from rat pancreatic exocrine tumor cells and develops an acinar-like phenotype when treated with dexamethasone (Dex). The aim of the present study was to examine the expression of rab-GDI isoforms and Hsp90 in AR42J cells in the presence or absence of Dex. Rab-GDI: Hsp90 interactions were also examined. Both rab-GDI isoforms were detected in AR42J cells by immunoblotting. In Dex-treated cells, quantitative immunoblotting revealed that rab-GDI-1 expression increased by 28%, although this change was not statistically significant. Rab-GDI-2 levels were unaltered by Dex treatment. Approximately 21% rab-GDI-1 was membrane associated, whereas rab-GDI-2 was exclusively cytosolic. Dex treatment did not affect the subcellular distribution of rab-GDI isoforms. Hsp90 was present in the cytosolic and membrane fractions of AR42J cells and co-immunoprecipitated with cytosolic rab-GDI-1. Moreover, density gradient centrifugation of AR42J cell membranes revealed that Hsp90 and rab-GDI-1 co-localize on low- and high-density membrane fractions, including amylase-containing secretory granules. The Hsp90 inhibitor, geldanamycin, inhibited CCK-8-induced amylase release from these cells in a dose-dependent manner. Our results indicate that as AR42J cells differentiate into acinar-like cells, rab-GDI isoform expression and localization is not significantly altered. Moreover, our findings suggest that Hsp90 regulates agonist-induced secretion in exocrine cells by interacting with rab-GDI-1.
PMCID: PMC3711583  PMID: 19910677
Rab proteins; GDI; Hsp90; Ar42J cells; Exocrine; Secretion; Pancreas; Amylase
15.  Specific Rab GTPase-activating proteins define the Shiga toxin and epidermal growth factor uptake pathways 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;177(6):1133-1143.
Rab family guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) together with their regulators define specific pathways of membrane traffic within eukaryotic cells. In this study, we have investigated which Rab GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) can interfere with the trafficking of Shiga toxin from the cell surface to the Golgi apparatus and studied transport of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) from the cell surface to endosomes. This screen identifies 6 (EVI5, RN-tre/USP6NL, TBC1D10A–C, and TBC1D17) of 39 predicted human Rab GAPs as specific regulators of Shiga toxin but not EGF uptake. We show that Rab43 is the target of RN-tre and is required for Shiga toxin uptake. In contrast, RabGAP-5, a Rab5 GAP, was unique among the GAPs tested and reduced the uptake of EGF but not Shiga toxin. These results suggest that Shiga toxin trafficking to the Golgi is a multistep process controlled by several Rab GAPs and their target Rabs and that this process is discrete from ligand-induced EGF receptor trafficking.
PMCID: PMC2064371  PMID: 17562788
16.  Legionella Subvert the Functions of Rab1 and Sec22b to Create a Replicative Organelle 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2004;199(9):1201-1211.
Legionella pneumophila is a bacterial pathogen that infects eukaryotic host cells and replicates inside a specialized organelle that is morphologically similar to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). To better understand the molecular mechanisms governing transport of the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV), we have identified host proteins that participate in the conversion of the LCV into a replicative organelle. Our data show that Rab1 is recruited to the LCV within minutes of uptake. Rab1 recruitment to the LCV precedes remodeling of this compartment by ER-derived vesicles. Genetic inhibition studies demonstrate that Rab1 is important for the recruitment of ER-derived vesicles to the LCV and that inhibiting Rab1 function abrogates intracellular growth of Legionella. Morphological studies indicate that the Sec22b protein is located on ER-derived vesicles recruited to the LCV and that Sec22b is delivered to the LCV membrane. Sec22b function was found to be important for biogenesis of the specialized organelle that supports Legionella replication. These studies demonstrate that Legionella has the ability to subvert Rab1 and Sec22b function to facilitate the transport and fusion of ER-derived vesicles with the LCV, resulting in the formation of a specialized organelle that can support bacterial replication.
PMCID: PMC2211909  PMID: 15117975
brefeldin A; ARF1; Sar1; phagosome; endoplasmic reticulum
17.  Roles for the Recycling Endosome, Rab8, and Rab11 in hantavirus release from epithelial cells 
Virology  2008;382(2):239-249.
Hantavirus structural proteins are believed to localize to intracellular membranes often identified as Golgi membranes, in virus-infected cells. After virus budding into the Golgi luminal space, virus-containing vesicles are transported to the plasma membrane via trafficking pathways that are not well defined. Using the New World hantavirus, Andes virus, we have investigated the role of various Rab proteins in the release of hantavirus particles from infected cells. Rabs 8 and 11 were found to colocalize with Andes virus proteins in virus infected cells and when expressed from cDNA, implicating the recycling endosome as an organelle important for hantavirus infection. Small interfering RNA-mediated downregulation of Rab11a alone or Rab11a and Rab11b together resulted in a decrease in infectious virus particle secretion from infected cells. Downregulation of Rab8a did not alter infectious virus release but reduction of both isoforms did. These data implicate the recycling endosome and the Rab proteins associated with vesicular transport to or from this intracellular organelle as an important pathway for hantavirus trafficking to the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC2648827  PMID: 18951604
hantavirus; Andes virus; recycling endosome; Golgi; nucleocapsid
18.  The Rabs: A family at the root of metazoan evolution 
BMC Biology  2012;10:68.
Eukaryotic cells are distinguished by their compartmentalization into membrane-enclosed organelles that exchange membranes and content in a highly ordered manner. Central in defining membrane identity are the Rabs, a large family of small GTPases that localize to distinct membranes and recruit specific regulators of membrane traffic. Two recent papers, including one by Klöpper et al. in BMC Biology, present phylogenomic evidence that the Rab repertoire was established very early in eukaryotic evolution, and correlates with interspecies variations in organelles.
See research article
PMCID: PMC3414739  PMID: 22873178
19.  The Anaplasma phagocytophilum-occupied vacuole selectively recruits Rab-GTPases that are predominantly associated with recycling endosomes 
Cellular microbiology  2010;12(9):1292-1307.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an obligate intracellular bacterium that infects neutrophils to reside within a host cell-derived vacuole. The A. phagocytophilum-occupied vacuole (ApV) fails to mature along the endocytic pathway and is non-fusogenic with lysosomes. Rab GTPases regulate membrane traffic. To better understand how the bacterium modulates the ApV’s selective fusogencity, we examined the intracellular localization of 20 green fluorescent protein (GFP) or red fluorescent protein (RFP)-tagged Rab GTPases in A. phagocytophilum infected HL-60 cells. GFP-Rab4A, GFP-Rab10, GFP-Rab11A, GFP-Rab14, RFP-Rab22A, and GFP-Rab35, which regulate endocytic recycling, and GFP-Rab1, which mediates endoplasmic reticulum to Golgi apparatus trafficking, localize to the ApV. Fluorescently tagged Rabs are recruited to the ApV upon its formation and remain associated throughout infection. Endogenous Rab14 localizes to the ApV. Tetracycline treatment concomitantly promotes loss of recycling endosome-associated GFP-Rabs and acquisition of GFP-Rab5, GFP-Rab7, and the lysosomal marker, LAMP-1. Wild-type and GTPase-deficient versions, but not GDP-restricted versions of GFP-Rab1, GFP-Rab4A, and GFP-Rab11A localize to the ApV. Strikingly, GFP-Rab10 recruitment to the ApV is guanine nucleotide-independent. These data establish that A. phagocytophilum selectively recruits Rab GTPases that are primarily associated with recycling endosomes to facilitate its intracellular survival and implicate bacterial proteins in regulating Rab10 membrane cycling on the ApV.
PMCID: PMC2923681  PMID: 20345488
20.  Rab GTPases Are Recruited to Chlamydial Inclusions in Both a Species-Dependent and Species-Independent Manner  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(10):5855-5870.
Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria that replicate within an inclusion that is trafficked to the peri-Golgi region where it fuses with exocytic vesicles. The host and chlamydial proteins that regulate the trafficking of the inclusion have not been identified. Since Rab GTPases are key regulators of membrane trafficking, we examined the intracellular localization of several green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Rab GTPases in chlamydia-infected HeLa cells. GFP-Rab4 and GFP-Rab11, which function in receptor recycling, and GFP-Rab1, which functions in endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-Golgi trafficking, are recruited to Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia muridarum, and Chlamydia pneumoniae inclusions, whereas GFP-Rab5, GFP-Rab7, and GFP-Rab9, markers of early and late endosomes, are not. In contrast, GFP-Rab6, which functions in Golgi-to-ER and endosome-to-Golgi trafficking, is associated with C. trachomatis inclusions but not with C. pneumoniae or C. muridarum inclusions, while the opposite was observed for the Golgi-localized GFP-Rab10. Colocalization studies between transferrin and GFP-Rab11 demonstrate that a portion of GFP-Rab11 that localizes to inclusions does not colocalize with transferrin, which suggests that GFP-Rab11's association with the inclusion is not mediated solely through Rab11's association with transferrin-containing recycling endosomes. Finally, GFP-Rab GTPases remain associated with the inclusion even after disassembly of microtubules, which disperses recycling endosomes and the Golgi apparatus within the cytoplasm, suggesting a specific interaction with the inclusion membrane. Consistent with this, GFP-Rab11 colocalizes with C. trachomatis IncG at the inclusion membrane. Therefore, chlamydiae recruit key regulators of membrane trafficking to the inclusion, which may function to regulate the trafficking or fusogenic properties of the inclusion.
PMCID: PMC201052  PMID: 14500507
21.  Rabs and the Exocyst in Ciliogenesis, Tubulogenesis, and Beyond 
Trends in cell biology  2011;21(7):383-386.
The exocyst -- an octameric protein complex mediating vesicle tethering at the plasma membrane for exocytosis -- is a downstream effector of the Rab proteins Rab8 and Rab11, which are key regulators of membrane trafficking from the trans-Golgi network and recycling endosome to the plasma membrane. Rab11 and Rab8 coordinate their actions via Rabin8, the guanine nucleotide exchange factor of Rab8. A cascade of protein-protein interactions involving the Rabs and the exocyst complex couples the generation of secretory vesicles at donor compartments to their docking and fusion at the plasma membrane. Here, we discuss recent work implicating Rab proteins and the exocyst in primary ciliogenesis and epithelial lumenogenesis. In addition, we discuss early work in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which provided initial insight into the molecular mechanisms of polarized exocytosis.
PMCID: PMC3128673  PMID: 21550243
22.  Rab7A Is Required for Efficient Production of Infectious HIV-1 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(11):e1002347.
Retroviruses take advantage of cellular trafficking machineries to assemble and release new infectious particles. Rab proteins regulate specific steps in intracellular membrane trafficking by recruiting tethering, docking and fusion factors, as well as the actin- and microtubule-based motor proteins that facilitate vesicle traffic. Using virological tests and RNA interference targeting Rab proteins, we demonstrate that the late endosome-associated Rab7A is required for HIV-1 propagation. Analysis of the late steps of the HIV infection cycle shows that Rab7A regulates Env processing, the incorporation of mature Env glycoproteins into viral particles and HIV-1 infectivity. We also show that siRNA-mediated Rab7A depletion induces a BST2/Tetherin phenotype on HIV-1 release. BST2/Tetherin is a restriction factor that impedes HIV-1 release by tethering mature virus particles to the plasma membrane. Our results suggest that Rab7A contributes to the mechanism by which Vpu counteracts the restriction factor BST2/Tetherin and rescues HIV-1 release. Altogether, our results highlight new roles for a major regulator of the late endocytic pathway, Rab7A, in the late stages of the HIV-1 replication cycle.
Author Summary
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) propagation requires the assistance of host cell factors at all stages of the infection cycle. HIV exploits components of the cellular membrane sorting machinery for its assembly, budding and release. Rab GTPases are key regulators of membrane-trafficking events, including exocytosis and endocytosis, in eukaryotic cells. Here we show that the late endosome associated Rab7A plays a major role in HIV-1 replication. We find that Rab7A regulates the production of infectious HIV-1 particles at two critical stages. First, Rab7A is required for efficient Env processing and, thus, for the incorporation of mature HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins into virions. Second, Rab7A contributes to the mechanism that counteracts the restriction imposed on HIV-1 release by the cellular restriction factor BST2/Tetherin that physically tethers viral particles to the plasma membrane of infected cells. Altogether these data highlight new roles for a major player of the late endocytic pathway, Rab7A, in the late stages of the HIV-1 replication cycle.
PMCID: PMC3207927  PMID: 22072966
23.  Expression of Rab3D N135I Inhibits Regulated Secretion of ACTH in AtT-20 Cells  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1998;140(2):305-313.
Rab proteins are small molecular weight GTPases that control vesicular traffic in eucaryotic cells. A subset of Rab proteins, the Rab3 proteins are thought to play an important role in regulated exocytosis of vesicles. In transfected AtT-20 cells expressing wild-type Rab3D, we find that a fraction of the protein is associated with dense core granules. In the same cells, expression of a mutated isoform of Rab3D, Rab3D N135I, inhibits positioning of dense core granules near the plasma membrane, blocks regulated secretion of mature ACTH, and impairs association of Rab3A to membranes. Expression of Rab3D N135I does not change the levels of ACTH precursor or the efficiency with which the precursor is processed into ACTH hormone and packaged into dense core granules. We also find that cells expressing mutated Rab3D differentiate to the same extent as untransfected AtT-20 cells. We conclude that expression of Rab3D N135I specifically impairs late membrane trafficking events necessary for ACTH hormone secretion.
PMCID: PMC2132581  PMID: 9442106
24.  Rab11 is Required for Maintenance of Cell Shape Via βPS Integrin Mediated Cell Adhesion in Drosophila 
In eukaryotes, vesicle trafficking is regulated by the small monomeric GTPases of the Rab protein family. Rab11, (a subfamily of the Ypt/Rab gene family) an evolutionarily conserved, ubiquitously expressed subfamily of small monomeric Rab GTPases, has been implicated in regulating vesicular trafficking through the recycling of endosomal compartment. In an earlier communication, we have shown that Rab11 is required for cell adhesion, maintenance of cell shape and actin-cytoskeleton organization during Drosophila wing development. Here, we report that Rab11 is required for the maintenance of cell shape via βPS integrin mediated cell adhesion. Cuticle preparations of the embryos, when Rab11 is over-expressed or activity of Rab11 is reduced via a double-stranded RNAi line, show dorsal open phenotypes. Immuno-fluorescence and immuno-histochemical analyses on embryos in the same genetic backgrounds also affect the localization of βPS integrins from the adhesion site of leading edge and amnioserosa cells during the dorsal closure stages of embryogenesis as well as the cellular morphology (cell shape) of the lateral epidermal cells.
PMCID: PMC3920512  PMID: 24551776
Amnioserosa; cellular morphology; cuticle; dorsal closure; Drosophila; Rab11
25.  Control systems for membrane fusion in the ancestral eukaryote; evolution of tethering complexes and SM proteins 
In membrane trafficking, the mechanisms ensuring vesicle fusion specificity remain to be fully elucidated. Early models proposed that specificity was encoded entirely by SNARE proteins; more recent models include contributions from Rab proteins, Syntaxin-binding (SM) proteins and tethering factors. Most information on membrane trafficking derives from an evolutionarily narrow sampling of model organisms. However, considering factors from a wider diversity of eukaryotes can provide both functional information on core systems and insight into the evolutionary history of the trafficking machinery. For example, the major Qa/syntaxin SNARE families are present in most eukaryotic genomes and likely each evolved via gene duplication from a single ancestral syntaxin before the existing eukaryotic groups diversified. This pattern is also likely for Rabs and various other components of the membrane trafficking machinery.
We performed comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses, when relevant, on the SM proteins and components of the tethering complexes, both thought to contribute to vesicle fusion specificity. Despite evidence suggestive of secondary losses amongst many lineages, the tethering complexes are well represented across the eukaryotes, suggesting an origin predating the radiation of eukaryotic lineages. Further, whilst we detect distant sequence relations between GARP, COG, exocyst and DSL1 components, these similarities most likely reflect convergent evolution of similar secondary structural elements. No similarity is found between the TRAPP and HOPS complexes and the other tethering factors. Overall, our data favour independent origins for the various tethering complexes. The taxa examined possess at least one homologue of each of the four SM protein families; since the four monophyletic families each encompass a wide diversity of eukaryotes, the SM protein families very likely evolved before the last common eukaryotic ancestor (LCEA).
These data further support a highly complex LCEA and indicate that the basic architecture of the trafficking system is remarkably conserved and ancient, with the SM proteins and tethering factors having originated very early in eukaryotic evolution. However, the independent origin of the tethering complexes suggests a novel pattern for increasing complexity in the membrane trafficking system, in addition to the pattern of paralogous machinery elaboration seen thus far.
PMCID: PMC1810245  PMID: 17319956

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