Ras-like Rab GTPases (guanosine triphosphatases) are regulators of membrane trafficking. Identification of two Ras-like GTPases, Sec4p and Ypt1p, which are involved in regulating secretion in yeast, rapidly led to the discovery of additional small GTPases in mammalian cells. Rab8 was among the first group of mammalian Rab GTPases to be identified and is a close functional and sequence homolog of the yeast proteins Ypt2 and Sec4p. A second isoform, Rab8b (b for basophil), was cloned from mast cells in 1996. Rab8b shares 83% sequence identity with MEL/Rab8 (now also termed Rab8a) primarily over amino acids 1–152. The two isoforms display significant overlap in tissue distribution (coexpressed in liver, skeletal muscle, and testis), though Rab8 is much more abundant in lung and kidney, while...
We acknowledge fellowships from NCRR INBRE 5P20RR016480 and NIGMS 1K12GM088021 to HW and research support from NIDDK DK50141 to AWN.
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