Rab proteins compose the largest family of small GTPases and control the different steps of intracellular membrane traffic. More recently, they have been shown to also regulate cell signaling, division, survival, and migration. The regulation of these processes generally occurs through recruitment of effectors and regulatory proteins, which control the association of Rab proteins to membranes and their activation state. Alterations in Rab proteins and their effectors are associated with multiple human diseases, including neurodegeneration, cancer, and infections. This review provides an overview of how the dysregulation of Rab-mediated functions and membrane trafficking contributes to these disorders. Understanding the altered dynamics of Rabs and intracellular transport defects might thus shed new light on potential therapeutic strategies.
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