From sorting endosomes to exocytosis: association of Rab4 and Rab11 GTPases with the Fc receptor, FcRn, during recycling

Mol Biol Cell. 2005 Apr;16(4):2028-38. doi: 10.1091/mbc.e04-08-0735. Epub 2005 Feb 2.


A longstanding question in cell biology is how is the routing of intracellular organelles within cells regulated? Although data support the involvement of Rab4 and Rab11 GTPases in the recycling pathway, the function of Rab11 in particular is uncertain. Here we have analyzed the association of these two Rab GTPases with the Fc receptor, FcRn, during intracellular trafficking. This Fc receptor is both functionally and structurally distinct from the classical Fcgamma receptors and transports immunoglobulin G (IgG) within cells. FcRn is therefore a recycling receptor that sorts bound IgG from unbound IgG in sorting endosomes. In the current study we have used dual color total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFM) and wide-field imaging of live cells to analyze the events in human endothelial cells that are involved in the trafficking of FcRn positive (FcRn(+)) recycling compartments from sorting endosomes to exocytic sites at the plasma membrane. Our data are consistent with the following model for this pathway: FcRn leaves sorting endosomes in Rab4(+)Rab11(+) or Rab11(+) compartments. For Rab4(+)Rab11(+) compartments, Rab4 depletion occurs by segregation of the two Rab proteins into discrete domains that can separate. The Rab11(+)FcRn(+) vesicle or tubule subsequently fuses with the plasma membrane in an exocytic event. In contrast to Rab11, Rab4 is not involved in exocytosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Exocytosis*
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Humans
  • Protein Transport
  • Receptors, Fc / genetics
  • Receptors, Fc / metabolism*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rab4 GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab4 GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Receptors, Fc
  • rab11 protein
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rab4 GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Fc receptor, neonatal