, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 43-61
Date: 19 Sep 2008

Vaults and the major vault protein: Novel roles in signal pathway regulation and immunity

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The unique and evolutionary highly conserved major vault protein (MVP) is the main component of ubiquitous, large cellular ribonucleoparticles termed vaults. The 100 kDa MVP represents more than 70% of the vault mass which contains two additional proteins, the vault poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (vPARP) and the telomerase-associated protein 1 (TEP1), as well as several short untranslated RNAs (vRNA). Vaults are almost ubiquitously expressed and, besides chemotherapy resistance, have been implicated in the regulation of several cellular processes including transport mechanisms, signal transmissions and immune responses. Despite a growing amount of data from diverse species and systems, the definition of precise vault functions is still highly complex and challenging. Here we review the current knowledge on MVP and vaults with focus on regulatory functions in intracellular signal transduction and immune defence.