Ric1-Rgp1 complex is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the late Golgi Rab6A GTPase and an effector of the medial Golgi Rab33B GTPase

J Biol Chem. 2012 Dec 7;287(50):42129-37. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.414565. Epub 2012 Oct 22.


Rab GTPases are master regulators of membrane trafficking events and template the directionality of protein transport through the secretory and endocytic pathways. Certain Rabs recruit the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that activates a subsequent acting Rab protein in a given pathway; this process has been termed a Rab cascade. We show here that the medial Golgi-localized Rab33B GTPase has the potential to link functionally to the late Golgi, Rab6 GTPase, by its capacity for association with Ric1 and Rgp1 proteins. In yeast, Ric1p and Rgp1p form a complex that catalyzes guanine nucleotide exchange by Ypt6p, the Rab6 homolog. Human Ric1 and Rgp1 both bind Rab6A with preference for the GDP-bound conformation, characteristic of a GEF. Nevertheless, both Ric1 and Rgp1 proteins are needed to catalyze nucleotide exchange on Rab6A protein. Ric1 and Rgp1 form a complex, but unlike their yeast counterparts, most of the subunits are not associated, and most of the proteins are cytosolic. Loss of Ric1 or Rgp1 leads to destabilization of Rab6, concomitant with a block in Rab6-dependent retrograde transport of mannose 6-phosphate receptors to the Golgi. The C terminus of Ric1 protein contains a distinct binding site for Rab33B-GTP, supporting the existence of a Rab cascade between the medial and trans Golgi. This study thus identifies a GEF for Rab6A in human cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Enzyme Stability / physiology
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / genetics
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / genetics
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • trans-Golgi Network / genetics
  • trans-Golgi Network / metabolism


  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Rab6 protein
  • RAB33B protein, human
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins