Membrane dynamics and fusion at late endosomes and vacuoles--Rab regulation, multisubunit tethering complexes and SNAREs

Eur J Cell Biol. 2011 Sep;90(9):779-85. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2011.04.007. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Membrane fusion at late endosomes and vacuoles depends on a conserved machinery, which includes Rab GTPases, their binding to tethering complexes and SNAREs. Fusion is initiated by the interaction of Rabs with tethering complexes. At the endosome, the CORVET complex interacts with the Rab5 GTPase Vps21, whereas the homologous HOPS complex binds the Rab7-like Ypt7 at the late endosome and vacuole. Activation of Ypt7 requires the recruitment of the Mon1-Ccz1 complex to the late endosome, which occurs via the CORVET complex. The interaction of Rab and the tethering complex is followed by the assembly of SNAREs, which leads to bilayer mixing. In this review, we will summarize our current knowledge on the mechanisms and regulation of endosome and vacuole membrane dynamics, and their role in organelle physiology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Membranes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Fusion
  • SNARE Proteins / metabolism*
  • Vacuoles / metabolism*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • SNARE Proteins
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins