Historical Background and Introduction
RAB proteins are evolutionarily highly conserved monomeric small GTP-binding proteins, which form the largest branch within the RAS superfamily. The first RAB gene Sec4/Ypt (yeast protein transcript) was identified more than 30 years ago and later described as the gene of a small G protein having essential function in vesicle trafficking between the Golgi apparatus and the plasma membrane (Gallwitz et al. 1983). Only a few years later, the first mammalian family members were cloned and named as RAB (Ras-like in rat brain) proteins (Touchot et al. 1987). In humans, more than 70 different RAB and RAB-like proteins have been characterized so far, and the protein family has also numerous members in all the well-known model organisms (11 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, 29 in Caenorhabditis elegans, 33 in Drosophila melanogaster, and 57 in Arabidopsis thaliana). All RAB family proteins...
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