Rabs set the stage for polarity

Sara S. Parker, Christopher Cox, Jean M. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Cell polarity refers to the asymmetric localization of cellular components that allows cells to carry out their specialized functions, be they epithelial barrier function, transmission of action potentials in nerve cells, or modulation of the immune response. The establishment and maintenance of cell polarity requires the directed trafficking of membrane proteins and lipids - essential processes that are mediated by Rab GTPases. Interestingly, several of the Rabs that impact polarity are present in the earliest eukaryotes, and the Rab polarity repertoire has expanded as cells have become more complex. There is a substantial conservation of Rab function across diverse cell types. Rabs act through an assortment of effector proteins that include scaffolding proteins, cytoskeletal motors, and other small GTPases. In this review we highlight the similarities and differences in Rab function for the instruction of polarity in diverse cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-129
Number of pages14
JournalSmall GTPases
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 4 2018


  • epithelia
  • immune cells
  • neurons
  • polarity
  • rab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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