Rab gtpases: Emerging oncogenes and tumor suppressive regulators for the editing of survival pathways in cancer

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Abstract

The Rab GTPase family of proteins are mediators of membrane trafficking, conferring identity to the cell membranes. Recently, Rab and Rab‐associated factors have been recognized as major regulators of the intracellular positioning and activity of signaling pathways regulating cell growth, survival and programmed cell death or apoptosis. Membrane trafficking mediated by Rab proteins is controlled by intracellular localization of Rab proteins, Rab‐membrane interactions and GTP‐activation processes. Aberrant expression of Rab proteins has been reported in multiple cancers such as lung, brain and breast malignancies. Mutations in Rab‐coding genes and/or post‐translational modifications in their protein products disrupt the cellular vesicle trafficking network modulating tumorigenic potential, cellular migration and metastatic behavior. Conversely, Rabs also act as tumor suppressive factors inducing apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis. Deconstructing the signaling mechanisms modulated by Rab proteins during apoptosis could unveil underlying molecular mechanisms that may be exploited therapeutically to selectively target malignant cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number259
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

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