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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 18;283(16):10232-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M707459200. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

Rap1 activation in response to cAMP occurs downstream of ras activation during Dictyostelium aggregation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada.


We have used a doubly disrupted rasC(-)/rasG(-) strain of Dictyostelium discoideum, which ectopically expresses the carA gene, to explore the relationship between the activation of RasC and RasG, the two proteins that are necessary for optimum cAMP signaling, and the activation of Rap1, a Ras subfamily protein, that is also activated by cAMP. The ectopic expression of carA restored early developmental gene expression to the rasC(-)/rasG(-) strain, rendering it suitable for an analysis of cAMP signal transduction. Because there was negligible signaling through both the cAMP chemotactic pathway and the adenylyl cyclase activation pathway in the rasC(-)/rasG(-)/[act15]:carA strain, it is clear that RasG and RasC are the only two Ras subfamily proteins that directly control these pathways. The position of Rap1 in the signal transduction cascade was clarified by the finding that Rap1 activation was totally abolished in rasC(-)/rasG(-)/[act15]:carA and rasG(-) cells but only slightly reduced in rasC(-) cells. Rap1 activation, therefore, occurs downstream of the Ras proteins and predominantly, if not exclusively, downstream of RasG. The finding that in vitro guanylyl cyclase activation is also abolished in the rasC(-)/rasG(-)/[act15]:carA strain identifies RasG/RasC as the presumptive monomeric GTPases required for this activation.

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