Rho proteins: linking signaling with membrane trafficking

Traffic. 2001 May;2(5):303-10. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2001.002005303.x.


Rho proteins are well known for their effects on the actin cytoskeleton, and are activated in response to a variety of extracellular stimuli. Several Rho family members are localized to vesicular compartments, and increasing evidence suggests that they play important roles in the trafficking of vesicles on both endocytic and exocytic pathways. In particular, RhoA, RhoB, RhoD, Rac and Cdc42 have been shown to affect various steps of membrane trafficking. The underlying molecular basis for these effects of Rho proteins are incompletely understood, but in the case of Cdc42 it appears that it can drive vesicle movement through Arp2/3 complex-mediated actin polymerization at the surface of the vesicle. This is similar to what is believed to happen when Rac and Cdc42 stimulate actin polymerization at the plasma membrane. Rho proteins may also affect membrane trafficking by altering phosphatidylinositide composition of membrane compartments, or through interactions with microtubules.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins