Whereas most of what we know today about the Ras-related small GTPases of the Rab family stems from observations made on Golgi complex, endosome and plasma membrane trafficking, a subset of Rabs localizes in part or predominantly to the ER (endoplasmic reticulum). Here, Rabs such as Rab1, Rab2, Rab6 and Rab33 can regulate the anterograde and retrograde trafficking of vesicles between the Golgi complex, the ERGIC (ER–Golgi intermediate compartment) and the ER itself. However, among the ER-associated Rabs, some Rabs appear to perform roles not directly related to trafficking: these Rabs (e.g. Rab32 or Rab24) could aid proteins of the atlastin and reticulon families in determining the extent and direction of ER tubulation. In so doing, these Rabs regulate not only ER contacts with other organelles such as mitochondria, but also the formation of autophagosomes.

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