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Small GTPases. 2011 May;2(3):148-157.

RASSF1A: Not a prototypical Ras effector.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics; Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry; University of Alberta; Edmonton, AB Canada.


The Ras association domain family (RASSF) of genes are commonly silenced by promoter specific methylation in human cancers. After the cloning of the first two family members in early 2000 (RASSF1 and RASSF5), eight other related genes have been identified (RASSF2, 3, 4 and 6-10). The unifying motif amongst all RASSF family members is the presence of the Ras association (RA) domain that could potentially associate with the Ras family of GTPases. Detailed analyses have determined that RASSF family members are tumor suppressor proteins, activators of cell death, cell cycle modulators, microtubule stabilizers and possibly inflammatory mediators linked to NFκB. As such, exploring the biological function of this gene family is needed and if indeed RASSF proteins could be the missing link between Ras signaling and apoptosis. Several RASSF family members have been demonstrated to associate with Ras. However, there is still controversy regarding the ability of RASSF1A to utilize Ras to promote cell death and of the importance of the RASSF1A RA domain. The focus of this review is to highlight the importance of Ras binding to the RASSF family of proteins and discuss what we currently know about the biology of RASSF1A.

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