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J Biol Chem. 1995 Mar 31;270(13):7017-20.

Nitric oxide-stimulated guanine nucleotide exchange on p21ras.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The protooncogene p21ras, a monomeric G protein family member, plays a critical role in converting extracellular signals into intracellular biochemical events. Here, we report that nitric oxide (NO) activates p21ras in human T cells as evidenced by an increase in GTP-bound p21ras. In vitro studies using pure recombinant p21ras demonstrate that the activation is direct and reversible. Circular dichroism analysis reveals that NO induces a profound conformational change in p21ras in association with GDP/GTP exchange. The mechanism of activation is due to S-nitrosylation of a critical cysteine residue which stimulates guanine nucleotide exchange. Furthermore, we demonstrate that p21ras is essential for NO-induced downstream signaling, such as NF-kappa B activation, and that endogenous NO can activate p21ras in the same cell. These studies identify p21ras as a target of the same cell. These studies identify p21ras as a target of NO in T cells and suggest that NO activates p21ras by an action which mimics that of guanine nucleotide exchange factors.

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