A large group of small Rab GTPases which mediate secretory and endosomal membrane transport, as well as autophagosome biogenesis, are essential components of vesicle trafficking machinery. Specific Rab protein together with the cognate effectors coordinates the dynamics of trafficking pathway and determines the cargo proteins destination. Functional impairments of Rab proteins by mutations or post-translational modifications disrupting the regulatory network of vesicle trafficking have been implicated in tumorigenesis. Therefore, the vesicle transport regulators play essential roles in the mediation of cancer cell biology, including uncontrolled cell growth, invasion and metastasis. The context-dependent role of the same Rab to act as either an oncoprotein or tumor suppressor in different cancers is found. Such discrepancies may be due in part to the interaction of specific Rab protein with different effectors or cargos in various tumors. Here, we review recent advances in the roles of Rab GTPases in communicating with other effectors in tumor progression. In this review, we also emphasize dysregulation of Rab-mediated membrane delivery shifting normal cell behaviors toward malignancy. Thus, recovery of the dysregulated vesicle trafficking systems in cancer cells may provide future directions for potential strategy to restrain tumor progression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes