Role of rab proteins in epithelial membrane traffic

Int Rev Cytol. 2003;232:59-88. doi: 10.1016/s0074-7696(03)32002-9.


Small GTPase rab proteins play an important role in various aspects of membrane traffic, including cargo selection, vesicle budding, vesicle motility, tethering, docking, and fusion. Recent data suggest also that rabs, and their divalent effector proteins, organize organelle subdomains and as such may define functional organelle identity. Most rabs are ubiquitously expressed. However, some rabs are preferentially expressed in epithelial cells where they appear intimately associated with the epithelial-specific transcytotic pathway and/or tight junctions. This review discusses the role of rabs in epithelial membrane transport.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / physiology*
  • Cell Polarity / physiology
  • Cytoplasmic Streaming / physiology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology*
  • Organelles / physiology
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins