Regulation of autophagy by the Rab GTPase network

Cell Death Differ. 2014 Mar;21(3):348-58. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2013.187. Epub 2014 Jan 17.


Autophagy (macroautophagy) is a highly conserved intracellular and lysosome-dependent degradation process in which autophagic substrates are enclosed and degraded by a double-membrane vesicular structure in a continuous and dynamic vesicle transport process. The Rab protein is a small GTPase that belongs to the Ras-like GTPase superfamily and regulates the vesicle traffic process. Numerous Rab proteins have been shown to be involved in various stages of autophagy. Rab1, Rab5, Rab7, Rab9A, Rab11, Rab23, Rab32, and Rab33B participate in autophagosome formation, whereas Rab9 is required in non-canonical autophagy. Rab7, Rab8B, and Rab24 have a key role in autophagosome maturation. Rab8A and Rab25 are also involved in autophagy, but their role is unknown. Here, we summarize new findings regarding the involvement of Rabs in autophagy and provide insights regarding future research on the mechanisms of autophagy regulation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Humans
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins