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The Rabs: A family at the root of metazoan evolution

Harald Stenmark

Author Affiliations

Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, Faculty of Medicine, Oslo University Hospital, Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway

Department of Biochemistry, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital, Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway

BMC Biology 2012, 10:68  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-68

Published: 8 August 2012


Eukaryotic cells are distinguished by their compartmentalization into membrane-enclosed organelles that exchange membranes and content in a highly ordered manner. Central in defining membrane identity are the Rabs, a large family of small GTPases that localize to distinct membranes and recruit specific regulators of membrane traffic. Two recent papers, including one by Klöpper et al. in BMC Biology, present phylogenomic evidence that the Rab repertoire was established very early in eukaryotic evolution, and correlates with interspecies variations in organelles.

See research article webcite