Rab GTPase signaling in neurite outgrowth and axon specification

David Villarroel-Campos, Francisca C. Bronfman, Christian Gonzalez-Billault

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Neurons are highly polarized cells that contain specialized subcellular domains involved in information transmission in the nervous system. Specifically, the somatodendritic compartment receives neuronal inputs while the axons convey information through the synapse. The establishment of asymmetric domains requires a specific delivery of components, including organelles, proteins, and membrane. The Rab family of small GTPases plays an essential role in membrane trafficking. Signaling cascades triggered by extrinsic and intrinsic factors tightly regulate Rab functions in cells, with Rab protein activation depending on GDP/GTP binding to establish a binary mode of action. This review summarizes the contributions of several Rab family members involved in trans-Golgi, early/late endosomes, and recycling endosomes during neurite development and axonal outgrowth. The regulation of some Rabs by guanine exchanging factors and GTPase activating proteins will also be addressed. Finally, discussion will be provided on how specific effector-mediated Rab activation modifies several molecules essential to neuronal differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)498-507
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • GTPase activating proteins
  • guanine exchanging factors
  • neuronal polarity
  • neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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