The mammalian genome encodes 49 proteins that possess a PX (phox-homology) domain, responsible for membrane attachment to organelles of the secretory and endocytic system via binding of phosphoinositide lipids. The PX domain proteins, most of which are classified as SNXs (sorting nexins), constitute an extremely diverse family of molecules that play varied roles in membrane trafficking, cell signalling, membrane remodelling and organelle motility. In the present review, we present an overview of the family, incorporating recent functional and structural insights, and propose an updated classification of the proteins into distinct subfamilies on the basis of these insights. Almost all PX domain proteins bind PtdIns3P and are recruited to early endosomal membranes. Although other specificities and localizations have been reported for a select few family members, the molecular basis for binding to other lipids is still not clear. The PX domain is also emerging as an important protein–protein interaction domain, binding endocytic and exocytic machinery, transmembrane proteins and many other molecules. A comprehensive survey of the molecular interactions governed by PX proteins highlights the functional diversity of the family as trafficking cargo adaptors and membrane-associated scaffolds regulating cell signalling. Finally, we examine the mounting evidence linking PX proteins to different disorders, in particular focusing on their emerging importance in both pathogen invasion and amyloid production in Alzheimer's disease.

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