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Protein & Cell

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 13–25 | Cite as

Small GTPases and cilia

  • Yujie Li
  • Jinghua HuEmail author
Review

Abstract

Small GTPases are key molecular switches that bind and hydrolyze GTP in diverse membrane- and cytoskeleton-related cellular processes. Recently, mounting evidences have highlighted the role of various small GTPases, including the members in Arf/Arl, Rab, and Ran subfamilies, in cilia formation and function. Once overlooked as an evolutionary vestige, the primary cilium has attracted more and more attention in last decade because of its role in sensing various extracellular signals and the association between cilia dysfunction and a wide spectrum of human diseases, now called ciliopathies. Here we review recent advances about the function of small GTPases in the context of cilia, and the correlation between the functional impairment of small GTPases and ciliopathies. Understanding of these cellular processes is of fundamental importance for broadening our view of cilia development and function in normal and pathological states and for providing valuable insights into the role of various small GTPases in disease processes, and their potential as therapeutic targets.

Keywords

Small GTPase cilia ciliopathy 

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© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nephrology and HypertensionMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Translational PKD CenterMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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