, Volume 24, Issue 8, pp 657-672
Date: 14 Nov 2007

Rho GTPases: functions and association with cancer

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Abstract

Rho GTPases are small proteins that act as binary molecular switches in a wide range of signalling pathways upon stimulation of cell surface receptors. Three different classes of regulatory proteins control their activity. In the activated state small GTPases are able to bind a variety of effector proteins and initiate downstream signalling. Rho GTPases regulate important cellular processes ranging from cytoskeletal remodelling and gene expression to cell proliferation and membrane trafficking. Therefore it is not surprising that deregulated Rho signalling can contribute to disturbed cellular phenotypes in a wide range of diseases. The main focus of this review will be the diversity of functions of Rho GTPases and the effects of aberrant Rho GTPase signalling in various aspects of cancer.