Multiple Factors Contribute to Inefficient Prenylation of Rab27a in Rab Prenylation Diseases

Banafshé Larijani, Alistair N. Hume, Abul K. Tarafder, Miguel C. Seabra

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65 Citations (SciVal)


Post-translational geranylgeranylation of Rab GT-Pases is essential for their membrane association and function as regulators of intracellular vesicular transport. The reaction is catalyzed by Rab geranylgeranyltransferase (RGGT) and is assisted by the Rab escort proteins (REP), which form stable complexes with newly synthesized GDP-bound Rabs. Two genetic diseases involve the Rab geranylgeranylation machinery: choroideremia, an X-linked retinal degeneration resulting from loss-of-function mutations in REP1, and gunmetal, a mouse model of Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome resulting from mutations in the α-subunit of RGGT. A small subset of Rab proteins is selectively under-prenylated in both diseases, most notably Rab27a. Here we analyze why Rab27a is selectively affected in diseases of Rab geranylgeranylation. Semi-quantitative immunoblotting suggests that mass action, i.e. the amount of Rab27a relative to other Rabs, is unlikely to be a factor as the expression level of Rab27a is similar to other Rabs not affected in these diseases. In vitro binding assays and fluorescence resonance energy transfer detected by fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy in intact cells demonstrate that Rab27a binds equally well to both REP1 and REP2, suggesting differential affinity of Rab27a for REP isoforms is not an important factor. However, steady-state kinetic analysis of the geranylgeranylation reaction indicates that REP2-Rab27a has lower affinity for RGGT compared with REP1-Rab27a. Furthermore, we show that Rab27a has relatively low GTPase activity, presumably decreasing the affinity of the REP interaction in vivo. We suggest that the restricted phenotypes observed in these diseases result from multiple contributing factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46798-46804
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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