Arf GTPases and their effectors: assembling multivalent membrane-binding platforms

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2014 Dec;29:67-76. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Arf GTPases are major regulators of membrane traffic and organelle structure in eukaryotes where they recruit many different effectors, including components of vesicular coats, proteins that tether membranes, sort lipids or have diverse other functions in vesicular traffic, and bacterial proteins that divert Arf functions in host cells. A dozen of structures of unrelated effectors bound to Arf1, Arf6 or their close relative Arl1 are available, revealing that Arf GTPases do not recognize preferred structures in their effectors. In contrast, a trait common to many Arf/effector complexes is that they are juxtaposed to membranes by multiple protein/membrane contacts, yet of diverse sizes, shapes and physicochemistry. The common function of Arf GTPases thus appears to be their ability to assemble versatile, multivalent membrane-binding platforms, resulting in optimal orientation and allosteric regulation of their effectors leading to a plethora of membrane-localized functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • ADP-Ribosylation Factor 1 / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / chemistry*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Transport


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • ADP-Ribosylation Factor 1