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Highly Accessed Open Badges Protein family review

The Rab GTPase family

Harald Stenmark1* and Vesa M Olkkonen2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway

2 Department of Molecular Medicine, National Public Health Institute, Biomedicum, FIN-00251, Helsinki, Finland

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Genome Biology 2001, 2:reviews3007-reviews3007.7  doi:10.1186/gb-2001-2-5-reviews3007

Published: 27 April 2001


The Rab family is part of the Ras superfamily of small GTPases. There are at least 60 Rab genes in the human genome, and a number of Rab GTPases are conserved from yeast to humans. The different Rab GTPases are localized to the cytosolic face of specific intracellular membranes, where they function as regulators of distinct steps in membrane traffic pathways. In the GTP-bound form, the Rab GTPases recruit specific sets of effector proteins onto membranes. Through their effectors, Rab GTPases regulate vesicle formation, actin- and tubulin-dependent vesicle movement, and membrane fusion.