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Golgi-associated retrograde protein (GARP) complex-dependent endosomes to trans Golgi network retrograde trafficking is controlled by Rab4b.

BACKGROUND: The trafficking of cargoes from endosomes to the trans-Golgi network requires numerous sequential and coordinated steps. Cargoes are sorted into endosomal-derived carriers that are transported, tethered, and fused to the trans-Golgi network. The tethering step requires several complexes, including the Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex, whose localization at the trans-Golgi network is determined by the activity of small GTPases of the Arl and Rab family. However, how the Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex recognizes the endosome-derived carriers that will fuse with the trans-Golgi network is still unknown.

METHODS: We studied the retrograde trafficking to the trans-Golgi network by using fluorescent cargoes in cells overexpressing Rab4b or after Rab4b knocked-down by small interfering RNA in combination with the downregulation of subunits of the Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex. We used immunofluorescence and image processing (Super Resolution Radial Fluctuation and 3D reconstruction) as well as biochemical approaches to characterize the consequences of these interventions on cargo carriers trafficking.

RESULTS: We reported that the VPS52 subunit of the Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex is an effector of Rab4b. We found that overexpression of wild type or active Rab4b increased early endosomal to trans-Golgi network retrograde trafficking of the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor in a Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex-dependent manner. Conversely, overexpression of an inactive Rab4b or Rab4b knockdown attenuated this trafficking. In the absence of Rab4b, the internalized cation-independent mannose 6 phosphate receptor did not have access to VPS52-labeled structures that look like endosomal subdomains and/or endosome-derived carriers, and whose subcellular distribution is Rab4b-independent. Consequently, the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor was blocked in early endosomes and no longer had access to the trans-Golgi network.

CONCLUSION: Our results support that Rab4b, by controlling the sorting of the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor towards VPS52 microdomains, confers a directional specificity for cargo carriers en route to the trans-Golgi network. Given the importance of the endocytic recycling in cell homeostasis, disruption of the Rab4b/Golgi-associated retrograde protein complex-dependent step could have serious consequences in pathologies.

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