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VPS21 encodes a rab5-like GTP binding protein that is required for the sorting of yeast vacuolar proteins.

Horazdovsky B.F., Busch G.R., Emr S.D.

Many of the vacuolar protein sorting (vps) mutants of Saccharomyces cerevisiae exhibit severe defects in the sorting of vacuolar proteins but still retain near-normal vacuole morphology. The gene affected in one such mutant, vps21, has been cloned and found to encode a member of the ras-like GTP binding protein family. Sequence comparisons with other known GTP binding proteins indicate that Vps21p is unique but shares striking similarity with mammalian rab5 proteins (> 50% identity and > 70% similarity). Regions with highest similarity are clustered within the putative GTP binding motifs and the proposed effector domains of the Vps21/rab5 proteins. Point mutations constructed within these conserved regions inactivate Vps21p function; the mutant cells missort and secrete the soluble vacuolar hydrolase carboxypeptidase Y (CPY). Cells carrying a complete deletion of the VPS21 coding sequence (i) are viable but exhibit a growth defect at 38 degrees C, (ii) missort multiple vacuolar proteins, (iii) accumulate 40-50 nm vesicles and (iv) contain a large vacuole. VPS21 encodes a 22 kDa protein that binds GTP and fractionates with subcellular membranes. Mutant analysis indicates that the association with a membrane(s) is dependent on geranylgeranylation of the C-terminal cysteine residue(s) of Vps21p. We propose that Vps21p functions in the targeting and/or fusion of transport vesicles that mediate the delivery of proteins to the vacuole.

EMBO J. 13:1297-1309(1994) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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