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Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;13(8):419-25.

Ral-GTPases: approaching their 15 minutes of fame.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Andy Warhol, the famous pop artist, once claimed that "in the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes". The same, it seems, can be said of proteins, because at any given time some proteins become more "fashionable" to study than others. But most proteins have been highly conserved throughout millions of years of evolution, which implies that they all have essential roles in cell biology. Thus, each one will no doubt enter the limelight if the right experiment in the right cell type is done. A good example of this is the Ras-like GTPases (Ral-GTPases), which until recently existed in the shadow of their close cousins--the Ras proto-oncogenes. Recent studies have yielded insights into previously unappreciated roles for Ral-GTPases in intensively investigated disciplines such as vesicle trafficking, cell morphology, transcription and possibly even human oncogenesis.

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