Localization of Rheb to the endomembrane is critical for its signaling function

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jun 9;344(3):869-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.03.220. Epub 2006 Apr 19.


Rheb, a small GTPase, has emerged as a key molecular switch that directly regulates the activity of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Similar to other members of the Ras superfamily, Rheb has a C-terminal CaaX box that is subject to farnesylation. This study reports that farnesylation is a key determinant of Rheb's subcellular localization and directs its association with the endomembrane. Timed imaging of live cells expressing EGFP-Rheb reveals that following brief association with the ER, Rheb localizes to highly ordered, distinct structures within the cytoplasm that display characteristics of Golgi membranes. Failure of Rheb to localize to the endomembrane impairs its ability to interact with mTOR and activate downstream targets. Consistent with the notion that the endomembrane may serve as a platform for the assembly of a functional Rheb/mTOR complex, treatment of cells with brefeldin A interferes with transmission of Rheb signals to p70S6K.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Neuropeptides
  • RHEB protein, human
  • Ras Homolog Enriched in Brain Protein
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins