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Nature. 1990 Nov 8;348(6297):125-32.

The GTPase superfamily: a conserved switch for diverse cell functions.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Proteins that bind and hydrolyse GTP are being discovered at a rapidly increasing rate. Each of these many GTPases acts as a molecular switch whose 'on' and 'off' states are triggered by binding and hydrolysis of GTP. Conserved structure and mechanism in myriad versions of the switch--in bacteria, yeast, flies and vertebrates--suggest that all derive from a single primordial protein, repeatedly modified in the course of evolution to perform a dazzling variety of functions.

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