The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the RAS superfamily which are small GTP/GDP-binding proteins with an average size of 200 amino acids. The RAS-related proteins of the RAB/YPT family may play a role in the transport of proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi and the plasma membrane. This protein shares 97%, 96%, and 51% similarity with the dog RAB8, mouse MEL, and mouse YPT1 proteins, respectively and contains the 4 GTP/GDP-binding sites that are present in all the RAS proteins. The putative effector-binding site of this protein is similar to that of the RAB/YPT proteins. However, this protein contains a C-terminal CAAX motif that is characteristic of many RAS superfamily members but which is not found in YPT1 and the majority of RAB proteins. Although this gene was isolated as a transforming gene from a melanoma cell line, no linkage between MEL and malignant melanoma has been demonstrable. This oncogene is located 800 kb distal to MY09B on chromosome 19p13.1.
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