Rab coupling protein (RCP) is a member of the Rab11-family of interacting proteins (Rab11-FIPs). Family members are characterised by their ability to interact with Rab11. This property is mediated by a conserved Rab binding domain (RBD) located at their carboxy-termini. Several Rab11-FIPs can also interact with other small GTPases. RCP interacts with Rab4 in addition to Rab11. To dissect out the individual properties of the Rab4 and Rab11 interactions with RCP, conserved amino acids within the RBD of RCP were mutated by site-directed mutagenesis. The effect of these mutations on Rab4 and Rab11 binding, and the intracellular localisation of RCP, was examined. Our results indicate that Rab11, rather than Rab4, mediates the intracellular localisation of RCP, and that the class I Rab11-FIPs compete for binding to Rab11. (C) 2004 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.