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Nature. 2000 Jun 15;405(6788):800-4.

The gamma-subunit of the coatomer complex binds Cdc42 to mediate transformation.

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Department of Molecular Medicine, VMC, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-6401, USA.


The Ras-related GTP-binding protein Cdc42 is implicated in a variety of biological activities including the establishment of cell polarity in yeast, the regulation of cell morphology, motility and cell-cycle progression in mammalian cells and the induction of malignant transformation. We identified a Cdc42 mutant (Cdc42F28L) which binds GTP in the absence of a guanine nucleotide exchange factor, but still hydrolyses GTP with a turnover number identical to that for wild-type Cdc42. Expression of this mutant in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts causes cellular transformation, mimicking many of the characteristics of cells transformed by the Dbl oncoprotein, a known guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Cdc42. Here we searched for new Cdc42 targets in an effort to understand how Cdc42 mediates cellular transformation. We identified the gamma-subunit of the coatomer complex (gammaCOP) as a specific binding partner for activated Cdc42. The binding of Cdc42 to gammaCOP is essential for a transforming signal distinct from those elicited by Ras.

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