RAB39B's role in membrane traffic, autophagy, and associated neuropathology


Neuropathological disorders are increasingly associated with dysfunctions in neuronal membrane traffic and autophagy, with defects among members of the Rab family of small GTPases implicated. Mutations in the human Xq28 localized gene RAB39B have been associated with X-linked neurodevelopmental defects including macrocephaly, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), as well as rare cases of early-onset Parkinson's disease (PD). Despite the finding that RAB39B regulates GluA2 trafficking and could thus influence synaptic α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor subunit composition, reasons for the wide-ranging neuropathological consequences associated with RAB39B defects have been unclear. Recent studies have now unraveled possible mechanisms underlying the neuropathological roles of this brain-enriched small GTPase. Studies in RAB39B knockout mice showed that RAB39B interacts with components of Class I phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) signaling. In its absence, the PI3K-AKT-mechanistic target of rapamycin signaling pathway in neural progenitor cells (NPCs) is hyperactivated, which promotes NPC proliferation, leading to macrocephaly and ASD. Pertaining to early-onset PD, a complex of C9orf72, Smith-Magenis syndrome chromosome region candidate 8 and WD repeat domain 41 that functions in autophagy has been identified as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor of RAB39B. Here, recent findings that have shed light on our mechanistic understanding of RAB39B's role in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative pathologies are reviewed. Caveats and unanswered questions are also discussed, and future perspectives outlined. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Authors Tang BL
Journal Journal of cellular physiology
Publication Date 2020 Aug 6;
PubMed 32761840
DOI 10.1002/jcp.29962

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