Decoding the regulation of mast cell exocytosis by networks of Rab GTPases

Nurit P. Azouz, Takahide Matsui, Mitsunori Fukuda, Ronit Sagi-Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Exocytosis is a key event in mast cell functions. By this process, mast cells release inflammatory mediators, contained in secretory granules (SGs), which play important roles in immunity and wound healing but also provoke allergic and inflammatory responses. The mechanisms underlying mast cell exocytosis remained poorly understood. An essential step toward deciphering the mechanisms behind exocytosis is the identification of the cellular components that regulate this process. Because Rab GTPases regulate specific trafficking pathways, we screened 44 Rabs for their functional impacts on exocytosis triggered by the FcεRI or combination of Ca2+ ionophore and phorbol ester. Because exocytosis involves the continuous reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton, we also repeated our screen in the presence of cytochalasin D that inhibits actin polymerization. In this paper, we report on the identification of 30 Rabs as regulators of mast cell exocytosis, the involvement of 26 of which has heretofore not been recognized. Unexpectedly, these Rabs regulated exocytosis in a stimulus-dependent fashion, unless the actin skeleton was disrupted. Functional clustering of the identified Rabs suggested their classification as Rabs involved in SGs biogenesis or Rabs that control late steps of exocytosis. The latter could be further divided into Rabs that localize to the SGs and Rabs that regulate transport from the endocytic recycling compartment. Taken together, these findings unveil the Rab networks that control mast cell exocytosis and provide novel insights into their mechanisms of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2169-2180
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sept 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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