Reference: Hall A (1992) Ras-related GTPases and the cytoskeleton. Mol Biol Cell 3(5):475-9

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Abstract

Incorporation of the available data on rac in neutrophils, CDC42 in yeast, and rho in fibroblasts suggests a general model for the function of rho-like GTPase (Figure 1). Conversion of an inactive cytoplasmic rho-related p21GDP/GDI complex to active p21. GTP occurs by inhibition of GAP and/or stimulation of exchange factors in response to cell signals. p21.GTP is then able to interact with its target at the plasma membrane. This could result in a conformational change in the target, enabling it to bind cytosolic protein(s). Alternatively, p21.GTP could be actively involved in transporting cytosolic protein(s) to the target. A GAP protein, perhaps intrinsic to the complex, would stimulate GTP hydrolysis allowing p21.GDP to dissociate. Solubilization of p21GDP by interaction with GDI would complete a cycle. What about the nature of the final complex? The rac-regulated NADPH oxidase complex in neutrophils is currently the best understood and most amenable to further biochemical analysis. Two plasma-membrane bound subunits encode the catalytic function necessary for producing superoxide, but the two cytosolic proteins, p47 and p67, are essential for activity. Why the complexity? Production of superoxide is tightly coordinated with phagocytosis, a membrane process driven by rearrangement of cortical actin. This is not unrelated to the membrane ruffling and macropinocytosis that we observe in fibroblasts microinjected with p21rac. It is tempting to speculate, therefore, that in neutrophils rac is involved not only in promoting the assembly of the NADPH oxidase but also in the coordinate reorganization of cortical actin leading to phagocytosis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Hall A
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