Rab23 and developmental disorders

Catherine H.H. Hor*, Bor Luen Tang, Eyleen L.K. Goh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Rab23 is a conserved member of the Rab family of small GTPases that regulates membrane trafficking in eukaryotes. It is unique amongst the Rabs in terms of its implicated role in mammalian development, as originally illustrated by the embryonic lethality and open neural tube phenotype of a spontaneous mouse mutant that carries homozygous mutation of open brain, a gene encoding Rab23. Rab23 was initially identified to act as an antagonist of Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling, and has since been implicated in a number of physiological and pathological roles, including oncogenesis. Interestingly, RAB23 null allele homozygosity in humans is not lethal, but instead causes the developmental disorder Carpenter’s syndrome (CS), which is characterized by craniofacial malformations, polysyndactyly, obesity and intellectual disability. CS bears some phenotypic resemblance to a spectrum of hereditary defects associated with the primary cilium, or the ciliopathies. Recent findings have in fact implicated Rab23 in protein traffic to the primary cilium, thus linking it with the primary cellular locale of Shh signaling. Rab23 also has Shh and cilia-independent functions. It is known to mediate the expression of Nodal at the mouse left lateral plate mesoderm and Kupffer’s vesicle, the zebrafish equivalent of the mouse node. It is thus important for the left-right patterning of vertebrate embryos. In this review, we discuss the developmental disorders associated with Rab23 and attempt to relate its cellular activities to its roles in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-860
Number of pages12
JournalReviews in the Neurosciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2018

User-Defined Keywords

  • Carpenter syndrome
  • ciliogenesis
  • primary cilia
  • Rab23
  • Sonic hedgehog


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