SNX-BAR proteins in phosphoinositide-mediated, tubular-based endosomal sorting

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 Jun;21(4):371-80. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.11.009. Epub 2009 Nov 13.


The endocytic network is morphologically characterized by a wide variety of membrane bound compartments that are able to undergo dynamic re-modeling through tubular and vesicular structures. The precise molecular mechanisms governing such re-modeling, and the events that co-ordinated this with the major role of endosomes, cargo sorting, remain unclear. That said, recent work on a protein family of sorting nexins (SNX) - especially a subfamily of SNX that contain a BAR domain (SNX-BARs) - has begun to shed some much needed light on these issues and in particular the process of tubular-based endosomal sorting. SNX-BARs are evolutionary conserved in endosomal protein complexes such as retromer, where they co-ordinate membrane deformation with cargo selection. Furthermore a central theme emerges of SNX-BARs linking the forming membrane carrier to cytoskeletal elements for transport through motor proteins such as dynein. By studying these SNX-BARs, we are gaining an increasingly detailed appreciation of the mechanistic basis of endosomal sorting and how this highly dynamic process functions in health and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport / physiology
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / classification
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane* / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane* / ultrastructure
  • Clathrin / metabolism
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / chemistry
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositols / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism*
  • Sorting Nexins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / chemistry
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / classification
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • trans-Golgi Network / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Clathrin
  • Molecular Motor Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositols
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Sorting Nexins
  • Vesicular Transport Proteins