Cancer Treatment and Research Volume 149, 2010, pp 229-240
Date: 26 Jun 2009

Ras-Superfamily GTP-ases in Ovarian Cancer

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Introduction

Small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPase), together with their associated regulators and effectors, play an important role in signal transduction pathways and as regulators of diverse cellular processes, including differentiation, cell division, cell proliferation, vesicle transport, nuclear assembly, and cytoskeleton formation. The Ras sarcoma (Ras) oncoproteins, including HRas, KRas, and NRas, are the founding members of the Ras-related oncoprotein superfamily. Comparative genomic analyses based on sequence and functional domain homology have revealed that this superfamily has more than 170 members,1 which can be subdivided into five major branches: the Ras, Rho, Rab, Ran, and Arf subfamilies.26 Variations in structure7 and posttranslational modifications control specific cellular localization of Ras-superfamily proteins to specific subcellular compartments and recruitment of downstream effectors that allow these small GTPases to function as sophisticated modulators of a