A fundamental question in cell biology is how cells determine membrane compartment identity and the directionality with which cargoes pass through the secretory and endocytic pathways. The discovery of so-called 'Rab cascades' provides a satisfying molecular mechanism that helps to resolve this paradox. One Rab GTPase has the ability to template the localization of the subsequent acting Rab GTPase along a given transport pathway. Thus, in addition to determining compartment identity and functionality, Rab GTPases are likely able to order the events of membrane trafficking. This review will highlight recent advances in our understanding of Rabs and Rab cascades.
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