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Oncogene. 2000 Feb 24;19(9):1138-46.

Positive regulation of skeletal myogenesis by R-Ras.

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Faculty of Bioscience, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama, Japan.


Most of the proteins in the Ras-family proteins, including Ras, Rap and TC21, have been reported to be strong inhibitors of skeletal myogenesis. Here we show that R-Ras, another member of this family, promotes terminal differentiation of C2C12 skeletal myoblasts. In contrast to Ras, which induced a markedly transformed phenotype of C2C12 cells, an activated mutant of R-Ras (R-RasQ87L) did not exhibit any inhibitory effect on the differentiation of C2C12 cells, but enhanced the formation of multinucleated myotubes. Although R-RasQ87L showed little effect on induction of two muscle-specific proteins, creatine kinase and myogenin, it prevented cell death during myoblast differentiation, probably through Akt activation and Bcl-xL induction. Motility of C2C12 cells, which may be involved in fusion of myoblasts, was also stimulated by R-RasQ87L. Furthermore, we observed a transient activation of endogenous R-Ras during differentiation of C2C12 cells. The ectopic expression of R-Ras GAP inhibited the differentiation. These results suggest that R-Ras has a positive effect on the terminal differentiation of myoblasts and may be involved in the program of skeletal myogenesis.

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