Here we provide the first strategy to use a competitive Extendable Blocking Probe (ExBP) for allele-specific priming with superior selectivity at the stage of reverse transcription. In order to analyze highly similar RNA variants, a reverse-transcriptase primer whose sequence matches a specific variant selectively primes only that variant, whereas mismatch priming to the alternative variant is suppressed by virtue of hybridization and subsequent extension of the perfectly matched ExBP on that alternative variant template to form a cDNA–RNA hybrid. This hybrid will render the alternative RNA template unavailable for mismatch priming initiated by the specific primer in a hot-start protocol of reverse transcription when the temperature decreases to a level where such mismatch priming could occur. The ExBP-based reverse transcription assay detected BRAF and KRAS mutations in at least 1000-fold excess of wild-type RNA and detection was linear over a 4-log dynamic range. This novel strategy not only reveals the presence or absence of rare mutations with an exceptionally high selectivity, but also provides a convenient tool for accurate determination of RNA variants in different settings, such as quantification of allele-specific expression.
ORP1L is a member of the human oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) family. ORP1L localizes to late endosomes (LEs)/lysosomes, colocalizing with the GTPases Rab7 and Rab9 and lysosome-associated membrane protein-1. We demonstrate that ORP1L interacts physically with Rab7, preferentially with its GTP-bound form, and provide evidence that ORP1L stabilizes GTP-bound Rab7 on LEs/lysosomes. The Rab7-binding determinant is mapped to the ankyrin repeat (ANK) region of ORP1L. The pleckstrin homology domain (PHD) of ORP1L binds phosphoinositides with low affinity and specificity. ORP1L ANK- and ANK+PHD fragments induce perinuclear clustering of LE/lysosomes. This is dependent on an intact microtubule network and a functional dynein/dynactin motor complex. The dominant inhibitory Rab7 mutant T22N reverses the LE clustering, suggesting that the effect is dependent on active Rab7. Transport of fluorescent dextran to LEs is inhibited by overexpression of ORP1L. Overexpression of ORP1L, and in particular the N-terminal fragments of ORP1L, inhibits vacuolation of LE caused by Helicobacter pylori toxin VacA, a process also involving Rab7. The present study demonstrates that ORP1L binds to Rab7, modifies its functional cycle, and can interfere with LE/lysosome organization and endocytic membrane trafficking. This is the first report of a direct connection between the OSBP-related protein family and the Rab GTPases.
Oxysterol binding protein Related Proteins (ORPs) mediate intracellular lipid transport and homeostatic regulation. ORP8 downregulates ABCA1 expression in macrophages and cellular cholesterol efflux to apolipoprotein A-I. In line, ORP8 knockout mice display increased amounts of HDL cholesterol in blood. However, the role of macrophage ORP8 in atherosclerotic lesion development is unknown.
Methods and Results
LDL receptor knockout (KO) mice were transplanted with bone marrow (BM) from ORP8 KO mice and C57Bl/6 wild type mice. Subsequently, the animals were challenged with a high fat/high cholesterol Western-type diet to induce atherosclerosis. After 9 weeks of Western-Type diet feeding, serum levels of VLDL cholesterol were increased by 50% in ORP8 KO BM recipients compared to the wild-type recipients. However, no differences were observed in HDL cholesterol. Despite the increase in VLDL cholesterol, lesions in mice transplanted with ORP8 KO bone marrow were 20% smaller compared to WT transplanted controls. In addition, ORP8 KO transplanted mice displayed a modest increase in the percentage of macrophages in the lesion as compared to the wild-type transplanted group. ORP8 deficient macrophages displayed decreased production of pro-inflammatory factors IL-6 and TNFα, decreased expression of differentiation markers and showed a reduced capacity to form foam cells in the peritoneal cavity.
Deletion of ORP8 in bone marrow-derived cells, including macrophages, reduces lesion progression after 9 weeks of WTD challenge, despite increased amounts of circulating pro-atherogenic VLDL. Reduced macrophage foam cell formation and lower macrophage inflammatory potential are plausible mechanisms contributing to the observed reduction in atherosclerosis.
Sec1/Munc18 proteins facilitate the formation of trans-SNARE (soluble N-ethylmaleimide–sensitive factor attachment protein receptor) complexes that mediate fusion of secretory granule (SG) with plasma membrane (PM). The capacity of pancreatic β-cells to exocytose insulin becomes compromised in diabetes. β-Cells express three Munc18 isoforms of which the role of Munc18b is unknown. We found that Munc18b depletion in rat islets disabled SNARE complex formation formed by syntaxin (Syn)-2 and Syn-3. Two-photon imaging analysis revealed in Munc18b-depleted β-cells a 40% reduction in primary exocytosis (SG-PM fusion) and abrogation of almost all sequential SG-SG fusion, together accounting for a 50% reduction in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS). In contrast, gain-of-function expression of Munc18b wild-type and, more so, dominant-positive K314L/R315L mutant promoted the assembly of cognate SNARE complexes, which caused potentiation of biphasic GSIS. We found that this was attributed to a more than threefold enhancement of both primary exocytosis and sequential SG-SG fusion, including long-chain fusion (6–8 SGs) not normally (2–3 SG fusion) observed. Thus, Munc18b-mediated exocytosis may be deployed to increase secretory efficiency of SGs in deeper cytosolic layers of β-cells as well as additional primary exocytosis, which may open new avenues of therapy development for diabetes.
Nuclear receptor Rev‐erbα plays important roles in circadian clock timing, lipid metabolism, adipogenesis, and vascular inflammation. However, the role of Rev‐erbα in atherosclerotic lesion development has not been assessed in vivo.
Methods and Results
The nuclear receptor Rev‐erbα was knocked down in mouse haematopoietic cells by means of shRNA‐lentiviral transduction, followed by bone marrow transplantation into LDL receptor knockout mice. The Rev‐erbα protein in peripheral macrophage was reduced by 70% as compared to control mice injected with nontargeting shRNA lentivirus‐transduced bone marrow. A significant increase in atherosclerotic lesions was observed around the aorta valves as well as upon en face aorta analysis of Rev‐erbα knock‐down bone marrow recipients (P<0.01) as compared to the control mice, while plasma cholesterol, phospholipid, and triacylglycerol levels were not affected. Overexpression of Rev‐erbα in bone marrow mononuclear cells decreased inflammatory M1 while increasing M2 macrophage markers, while Rev‐erbα knock down increased the macrophage inflammatory phenotype in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, treatment of differentiating macrophages with the Rev‐erbα ligand heme promoted expression of antiinflammatory M2 markers.
These observations identify hematopoietic cell Rev‐erbα as a new modulator of atherogenesis in mice.
atherosclerosis; macrophages; Rev‐erbα
OSBP-related protein 8 (ORP8) encoded by Osbpl8 is an endoplasmic reticulum sterol sensor implicated in cellular lipid metabolism. We generated an Osbpl8−/− (KO) C57Bl/6 mouse strain. Wild-type and Osbpl8KO animals at the age of 13-weeks were fed for 5 weeks either chow or high-fat diet, and their plasma lipids/lipoproteins and hepatic lipids were analyzed. The chow-fed Osbpl8KO male mice showed a marked elevation of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (+79%) and phospholipids (+35%), while only minor increase of apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) was detected. In chow-fed female KO mice a less prominent increase of HDL cholesterol (+27%) was observed, while on western diet the HDL increment was prominent in both genders. The HDL increase was accompanied by an elevated level of HDL-associated apolipoprotein E in male, but not female KO animals. No differences between genotypes were observed in lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) or hepatic lipase (HL) activity, or in the fractional catabolic rate of fluorescently labeled mouse HDL injected in chow-diet fed animals. The Osbpl8KO mice of both genders displayed reduced phospholipid transfer protein (PLTP) activity, but only on chow diet. These findings are consistent with a model in which Osbpl8 deficiency results in altered biosynthesis of HDL. Consistent with this hypothesis, ORP8 depleted mouse hepatocytes secreted an increased amount of nascent HDL into the culture medium. In addition to the HDL phenotype, distinct gender-specific alterations in lipid metabolism were detected: Female KO animals on chow diet showed reduced lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity and increased plasma triglycerides, while the male KO mice displayed elevated plasma cholesterol biosynthetic markers cholestenol, desmosterol, and lathosterol. Moreover, modest gender-specific alterations in the hepatic expression of lipid homeostatic genes were observed. In conclusion, we report the first viable OsbplKO mouse model, demonstrating a HDL elevating effect of Osbpl8 knock-out and additional gender- and/or diet-dependent impacts on lipid metabolism.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) delta is an important regulator of fatty acid (FA) metabolism. Angiopoietin-like 4 (Angptl4), a multifunctional protein, is one of the major targets of PPAR delta in skeletal muscle cells. Here we investigated the regulation of Angptl4 and its role in mediating PPAR delta functions using human, rat and mouse myotubes. Expression of Angptl4 was upregulated during myotubes differentiation and by oleic acid, insulin and PPAR delta agonist GW501516. Treatment with GW501516 or Angptl4 overexpression inhibited both lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity and LPL-dependent uptake of FAs whereas uptake of BSA-bound FAs was not affected by either treatment. Activation of retinoic X receptor (RXR), PPAR delta functional partner, using bexarotene upregulated Angptl4 expression and inhibited LPL activity in a PPAR delta dependent fashion. Silencing of Angptl4 blocked the effect of GW501516 and bexarotene on LPL activity. Treatment with GW501516 but not Angptl4 overexpression significantly increased palmitate oxidation. Furthermore, Angptl4 overexpression did not affect the capacity of GW501516 to increase palmitate oxidation. Basal and insulin stimulated glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis and glucose oxidation were not significantly modulated by Angptl4 overexpression. Our findings suggest that FAs-PPARdelta/RXR-Angptl4 axis controls the LPL-dependent uptake of FAs in myotubes, whereas the effect of PPAR delta activation on beta-oxidation is independent of Angptl4.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues, ORPs, are implicated in lipid homeostatic control, vesicle transport, and cell signaling. We analyzed here the quantity of ORP mRNAs in human subcutaneous (s.c.) and visceral adipose depots, as well as in the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipocyte cell model. All of the ORP mRNAs were present in the s.c and visceral adipose tissues, and the two depots shared an almost identical ORP mRNA expression pattern. SGBS adipocytes displayed a similar pattern, suggesting that the adipose tissue ORP expression pattern mainly derives from adipocytes. During SGBS cell adipogenic differentiation, ORP2, ORP3, ORP4, ORP7, and ORP8 mRNAs were down-regulated, while ORP11 was induced. To assess the impacts of ORPs on adipocyte differentiation, ORP3 and ORP8, proteins down-regulated during adipogenesis, were overexpressed in differentiating SGBS adipocytes, while ORP11, a protein induced during adipogenesis, was silenced. ORP8 overexpression resulted in reduced expression of the aP2 mRNA, while down-regulation of adiponectin and aP2 was observed in ORP11 silenced cells. Furthermore, ORP8 overexpression or silencing of ORP11 markedly decreased cellular triglyceride storage. These data identify the patterns of ORP expression in human adipose depots and SGBS adipocytes, and provide the first evidence for a functional impact of ORPs on the adipocyte phenotype.
Airway mucin secretion and MC (mast cell) degranulation must be tightly controlled for homoeostasis of the lungs and immune system respectively. We found the exocytic protein Munc18b to be highly expressed in mouse airway epithelial cells and MCs, and localized to the apical pole of airway secretory cells. To address its functions, we created a mouse with a severely hypomorphic Munc18b allele such that protein expression in heterozygotes was reduced by ~50%. Homozygous mutant mice were not viable, but heterozygotes showed a ~50% reduction in stimulated release of mucin from epithelial cells and granule contents from MCs. The defect in MCs affected only regulated secretion and not constitutive or transporter-mediated secretion. The severity of passive cutaneous anaphylaxis was also reduced by ~50%, showing that reduction of Munc18b expression results in an attenuation of physiological responses dependent on MC degranulation. The Munc18b promoter is controlled by INR (initiator), Sp1 (specificity protein 1), Ets, CRE (cAMP-response element), GRE (glucocorticoid-response element), GATA and E-box elements in airway epithelial cells; however, protein levels did not change during mucous metaplasia induced by allergic inflammation. Taken together, the results of the present study identify Munc18b as an essential gene that is a limiting component of the exocytic machinery of epithelial cells and MCs.
exocytosis; mast cell; mucin; mucus; Munc18; secretion; AB-PAS, Alcian Blue/periodic acid/Schiff reagent; bHLH, basic helix–loop–helix; CCSP, Clara cell secretory protein; Clca3, chloride channel, calcium-activated, family member 3; CRE, cAMP-response element; DNP, 2,4-dinitrophenol; FBS, fetal bovine serum; FcϵRIα, high-affinity IgE receptor, α subunit; FRT, flippase recognition target; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; GRE, glucocorticoid-response element; HA, haemagglutinin; HSA, human serum albumin; HRP, horseradish peroxidase; IL-3, interleukin-3; INR, initiator; ISH, in situ hybridization; MC, mast cell; mBMMC, mouse bone-marrow-derived MC; mClca3, mouse Clca3; MFI, mean fluorescent intensity; mtCC, mouse transformed Clara cell; NK, natural killer; OCT, optimal cutting temperature compound; PAFS, periodic acid/fluorescent Schiff reagent; PBST, PBS containing 0.05% Tween 20; PGD2, prostaglandin D2; PGK, phosphoglucokinase; SCF, stem cell factor; SM, Sec1/Munc18; SNAP, soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor-attachment protein; SNARE, SNAP receptor; Stxbp2, syntaxin-binding protein 2; TK, thymidine kinase; TNFα, tumour necrosis factor α; WT, wild-type; YFP, yellow fluorescent protein
Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is associated with lipodystrophy, i.e., loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue in the abdomen, limbs, and face and its accumulation intra-abdominally. No fat is lost dorsocervically and it can even accumulate in this region (buffalo hump). It is unknown how preserved dorsocervical fat differs from abdominal subcutaneous fat in HIV-1–infected cART-treated patients with (cART+LD+) and without (cART+LD−) lipodystrophy.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We used histology, microarray, PCR, and magnetic resonance imaging to compare dorsocervical and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in cART+LD+ (n = 21) and cART+LD− (n = 11).
Albeit dorsocervical adipose tissue in cART+LD+ seems spared from lipoatrophy, its mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA; copies/cell) content was significantly lower (by 62%) than that of the corresponding tissue in cART+LD−. Expression of CD68 mRNA, a marker of macrophages, and numerous inflammatory genes in microarray were significantly lower in dorsocervical versus abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. Genes with the greatest difference in expression between the two depots were those involved in regulation of transcription and regionalization (homeobox genes), irrespective of lipodystrophy status. There was negligible mRNA expression of uncoupling protein 1, a gene characteristic of brown adipose tissue, in either depot.
Because mtDNA is depleted even in the nonatrophic dorsocervical adipose tissue, it is unlikely that the cause of lipoatrophy is loss of mtDNA. Dorsocervical adipose tissue is less inflamed than lipoatrophic adipose tissue. It does not resemble brown adipose tissue. The greatest difference in gene expression between dorsocervical and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue is in expression of homeobox genes.
To get insight into molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance, we compared acute in vivo effects of insulin on adipose tissue transcriptional profiles between obese insulin-resistant and lean insulin-sensitive women.
Subcutaneous adipose tissue biopsies were obtained before and after 3 and 6 hours of intravenously maintained euglycemic hyperinsulinemia from 9 insulin-resistant and 11 insulin-sensitive females. Gene expression was measured using Affymetrix HG U133 Plus 2 microarrays and qRT-PCR. Microarray data and pathway analyses were performed with Chipster v1.4.2 and by using in-house developed nonparametric pathway analysis software.
The most prominent difference in gene expression of the insulin-resistant group during hyperinsulinemia was reduced transcription of nuclear genes involved in mitochondrial respiration (mitochondrial respiratory chain, GO:0001934). Inflammatory pathways with complement components (inflammatory response, GO:0006954) and cytokines (chemotaxis, GO:0042330) were strongly up-regulated in insulin-resistant as compared to insulin-sensitive subjects both before and during hyperinsulinemia. Furthermore, differences were observed in genes contributing to fatty acid, cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism (FATP2, ELOVL6, PNPLA3, SREBF1) and in genes involved in regulating lipolysis (ANGPTL4) between the insulin-resistant and -sensitive subjects especially during hyperinsulinemia.
The major finding of this study was lower expression of mitochondrial respiratory pathway and defective induction of lipid metabolism pathways by insulin in insulin-resistant subjects. Moreover, the study reveals several novel genes whose aberrant regulation is associated with the obese insulin-resistant phenotype.
We earlier identified OSBP-related protein 8 (ORP8) as an endoplasmic reticulum oxysterol-binding protein implicated in cellular lipid homeostasis. We now investigated its action in hepatic cells in vivo and in vitro. Adenoviral overexpression of ORP8 in mouse liver induced a decrease of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides in serum (−34%, −26%, −37%, respectively) and liver tissue (−40%, −12%, −24%), coinciding with reduction of nuclear (n)SREBP-1 and -2 and mRNA levels of their target genes. Consistently, excess ORP8 reduced nSREBPs in HuH7 cells, and ORP8 overexpression or silencing by RNA interference moderately suppressed or induced the expression of SREBP-1 and SREBP-2 target genes, respectively. In accordance, cholesterol biosynthesis was reduced by ORP8 overexpression and enhanced by ORP8 silencing in [3H]acetate pulse-labeling experiments. ORP8, previously shown to bind 25-hydroxycholesterol, was now shown to bind also cholesterol in vitro. Yeast two-hybrid, bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC), and co-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed the nuclear pore component Nup62 as an interaction partner of ORP8. Co-localization of ORP8 and Nup62 at the nuclear envelope was demonstrated by BiFC and confocal immunofluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, the impact of overexpressed ORP8 on nSREBPs and their target mRNAs was inhibited in cells depleted of Nup62. Our results reveal that ORP8 has the capacity to modulate lipid homeostasis and SREBP activity, probably through an indirect mechanism, and provide clues of an entirely new mode of ORP action.
Analysis of variants in three genes encoding oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues (OSBPL2, OSBPL9, OSBPL10) in Finnish families with familial low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (N = 426) or familial combined hyperlipidemia (N = 684) revealed suggestive linkage of OSBPL10 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with extreme end high triglyceride (TG; >90th percentile) trait. Prompted by this initial finding, we carried out association analysis in a metabolic syndrome subcohort (Genmets) of Health2000 examination survey (N = 2,138), revealing association of multiple OSBPL10 SNPs with high serum TG levels (>95th percentile). To investigate whether OSBPL10 could be the gene underlying the observed linkage and association, we carried out functional experiments in the human hepatoma cell line Huh7. Silencing of OSBPL10 increased the incorporation of [3H]acetate into cholesterol and both [3H]acetate and [3H]oleate into triglycerides and enhanced the accumulation of secreted apolipoprotein B100 in growth medium, suggesting that the encoded protein ORP10 suppresses hepatic lipogenesis and very-low-density lipoprotein production. ORP10 was shown to associate dynamically with microtubules, consistent with its involvement in intracellular transport or organelle positioning. The data introduces OSBPL10 as a gene whose variation may contribute to high triglyceride levels in dyslipidemic Finnish subjects and provides evidence for ORP10 as a regulator of cellular lipid metabolism.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00109-009-0490-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cholesterol; High-density lipoprotein; Microtubule; Oxysterol-binding protein; Single-nucleotide polymorphism; Triglyceride
We identified in a yeast two-hybrid screen the EF-hand Ca2+-binding protein Cab45 as an interaction partner of Munc18b. Although the full-length Cab45 resides in Golgi lumen, we characterize a cytosolic splice variant, Cab45b, expressed in pancreatic acini. Cab45b is shown to bind 45Ca2+, and, of its three EF-hand motifs, EF-hand 2 is demonstrated to be crucial for the ion binding. Cab45b is shown to interact with Munc18b in an in vitro assay, and this interaction is enhanced in the presence of Ca2+. In this assay, Cab45b also binds the Munc18a isoform in a Ca2+-dependent manner. The endogenous Cab45b in rat acini coimmunoprecipitates with Munc18b, syntaxin 2, and syntaxin 3, soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors with key roles in the Ca2+-triggered zymogen secretion. Furthermore, we show that Munc18b bound to syntaxin 3 recruits Cab45b onto the plasma membrane. Importantly, antibodies against Cab45b are shown to inhibit in a specific and dose-dependent manner the Ca2+-induced amylase release from streptolysin-O–permeabilized acini. The present study identifies Cab45b as a novel protein factor involved in the exocytosis of zymogens by pancreatic acini.
The small GTPase Rab7 controls late endocytic transport by the minus end–directed motor protein complex dynein–dynactin, but how it does this is unclear. Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) and oxysterol-binding protein–related protein 1L (ORP1L) are two effectors of Rab7. We show that GTP-bound Rab7 simultaneously binds RILP and ORP1L to form a RILP–Rab7–ORP1L complex. RILP interacts directly with the C-terminal 25-kD region of the dynactin projecting arm p150Glued, which is required for dynein motor recruitment to late endocytic compartments (LEs). Still, p150Glued recruitment by Rab7–RILP does not suffice to induce dynein-driven minus-end transport of LEs. ORP1L, as well as βIII spectrin, which is the general receptor for dynactin on vesicles, are essential for dynein motor activity. Our results illustrate that the assembly of microtubule motors on endosomes involves a cascade of linked events. First, Rab7 recruits two effectors, RILP and ORP1L, to form a tripartite complex. Next, RILP directly binds to the p150Glued dynactin subunit to recruit the dynein motor. Finally, the specific dynein motor receptor Rab7–RILP is transferred by ORP1L to βIII spectrin. Dynein will initiate translocation of late endosomes to microtubule minus ends only after interacting with βIII spectrin, which requires the activities of Rab7–RILP and ORP1L.
Oxysterol binding protein (OSBP) homologs comprise a family of 12 proteins in humans (Jaworski et al., 2001; Lehto et al., 2001). Two variants of OSBP-related protein (ORP) 1 have been identified: a short one that consists of the carboxy-terminal ligand binding domain only (ORP1S, 437 aa) and a longer N-terminally extended form (ORP1L, 950 aa) encompassing three ankyrin repeats and a pleckstrin homology domain (PHD). We now report that the two mRNAs show marked differences in tissue expression. ORP1S predominates in skeletal muscle and heart, whereas ORP1L is the most abundant form in brain and lung. On differentiation of primary human monocytes into macrophages, both ORP1S and ORP1L mRNAs were induced, the up-regulation of ORP1L being >100-fold. The intracellular localization of the two ORP1 variants was found to be different. Whereas ORP1S is largely cytosolic, the ORP1L variant localizes to late endosomes. A significant amount of ORP1S but only little ORP1L was found in the nucleus. The ORP1L ankyrin repeat region (aa 1–237) was found to localize to late endosomes such as the full-length protein. This localization was even more pronounced for a fragment that additionally includes the PHD (aa 1–408). The amino-terminal region of ORP1L consisting of the ankyrin repeat and PHDs is therefore likely to be responsible for the targeting of ORP1L to late endosomes. Interestingly, overexpression of ORP1L was found to enhance the LXRα-mediated transactivation of a reporter gene, whereas ORP1S failed to influence this process. The results suggest that the two forms of ORP1 are functionally distinct and that ORP1L is involved in control of cellular lipid metabolism.
The Rab family is part of the Ras superfamily of small GTPases. There are at least 60 Rab genes in the human genome, and a number of Rab GTPases are conserved from yeast to humans. The different Rab GTPases are localized to the cytosolic face of specific intracellular membranes, where they function as regulators of distinct steps in membrane traffic pathways. In the GTP-bound form, the Rab GTPases recruit specific sets of effector proteins onto membranes. Through their effectors, Rab GTPases regulate vesicle formation, actin- and tubulin-dependent vesicle movement, and membrane fusion.