Role of Rab GTPases in Alzheimer's Disease

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2019 Feb 20;10(2):828-838. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.8b00387. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Alzheimer's disease (AD) comprises two major pathological hallmarks: extraneuronal deposition of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides ("senile plaques") and intraneuronal aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau ("neurofibrillary tangles"). Aβ is derived from sequential cleavage of the β-amyloid precursor protein by β- and γ-secretases, while aggregated tau is hyperphosphorylated in AD. Mounting evidence suggests that dysregulated trafficking of these AD-related proteins contributes to AD pathogenesis. Rab proteins are small GTPases that function as master regulators of vesicular transport and membrane trafficking. Multiple Rab GTPases have been implicated in AD-related protein trafficking, and their expression has been observed to be altered in postmortem AD brain. Here we review current implicated roles of Rab GTPase dysregulation in AD pathogenesis. Further elucidation of the pathophysiological role of Rab GTPases will likely reveal novel targets for AD therapeutics.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Rab GTPases; tau; trafficking; β-Amyloid; β-amyloid precursor protein.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / drug therapy
  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Amyloid beta-Peptides / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Plaque, Amyloid / drug therapy
  • Plaque, Amyloid / enzymology
  • Plaque, Amyloid / pathology
  • Protein Transport / drug effects
  • Protein Transport / physiology*
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism


  • Amyloid beta-Peptides
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • tau Proteins
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins