Structural basis of TRAPPIII‐mediated Rab1 activation

Aaron M. N. Joiner, Ben P. Phillips, Kumar Yugandhar, Ethan J. Sanford, Marcus B. Smolka, Haiyuan Yu, Elizabeth A. Miller, J. Christopher Fromme (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


The GTPase Rab1 is a master regulator of the early secretory pathway and is critical for autophagy. Rab1 activation is controlled by its guanine nucleotide exchange factor, the multisubunit TRAPPIII complex. Here, we report the 3.7 Å cryo‐EM structure of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae TRAPPIII complex bound to its substrate Rab1/Ypt1. The structure reveals the binding site for the Rab1/Ypt1 hypervariable domain, leading to a model for how the complex interacts with membranes during the activation reaction. We determined that stable membrane binding by the TRAPPIII complex is required for robust activation of Rab1/Ypt1 in vitro and in vivo, and is mediated by a conserved amphipathic α‐helix within the regulatory Trs85 subunit. Our results show that the Trs85 subunit serves as a membrane anchor, via its amphipathic helix, for the entire TRAPPIII complex. These findings provide a structural understanding of Rab activation on organelle and vesicle membranes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere107607
Number of pages19
JournalThe EMBO Journal
Issue number12
Early online date21 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021


  • autophagy
  • GTPase
  • guanine nucleotide exchange factor
  • membrane trafficking
  • Rab1


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural basis of TRAPPIII‐mediated Rab1 activation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this