The TBC (Tre-2/Bub2/Cdc16) domain was originally identified as a conserved domain among the tre-2 oncogene product and the yeast cell cycle regulators Bub2 and Cdc16, and it is now widely recognized as a conserved protein motif that consists of approx. 200 amino acids in all eukaryotes. Since the TBC domain of yeast Gyps [GAP (GTPase-activating protein) for Ypt proteins] has been shown to function as a GAP domain for small GTPase Ypt/Rab, TBC domain-containing proteins (TBC proteins) in other species are also expected to function as a certain Rab-GAP. More than 40 different TBC proteins are present in humans and mice, and recent accumulating evidence has indicated that certain mammalian TBC proteins actually function as a specific Rab-GAP. Some mammalian TBC proteins {e.g. TBC1D1 [TBC (Tre-2/Bub2/Cdc16) domain family, member 1] and TBC1D4/AS160 (Akt substrate of 160 kDa)} play an important role in homoeostasis in mammals, and defects in them are directly associated with mouse and human diseases (e.g. leanness in mice and insulin resistance in humans). The present study reviews the structure and function of mammalian TBC proteins, especially in relation to Rab small GTPases.

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