Structural basis of mRNA binding by the human FERRY Rab5 effector complex

Published: 5 May 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/7v3rsntjfx.1
Jan Schuhmacher


The pentameric FERRY Rab5 effector complex is a new molecular link between mRNA and early endosomes in mRNA intracellular distribution. Here, we determine the cryo-EM structure of human FERRY. It reveals a unique clamp-like architecture that bears no resemblance to any known structure of Rab effectors. A combination of functional and mutational studies reveals that while the Fy-2 C-terminal coiled-coil acts as binding region for Fy-1/3 and Rab5, both coiled-coils and Fy-5 concur to bind mRNA. Mutations causing truncations of Fy-2 in patients with neurological disorders impair Rab5 binding or FERRY complex assembly. Thus, Fy-2 serves as a binding hub connecting all five complex subunits and mediating the binding to mRNA and early endosomes via Rab5. Our study provides novel mechanistic insights into long-distance mRNA transport and demonstrates that the particular architecture of FERRY is closely linked to a novel mode of RNA binding, involving coiled-coil domains.



Max-Planck-Institut fur molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik


Messenger RNA, Protein Complex, Axonal Transport