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J Biol Chem. 2002 Oct 25;277(43):41070-8. Epub 2002 Aug 22.

Di-Ras, a distinct subgroup of ras family GTPases with unique biochemical properties.

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Department of Physiological Chemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Hongo, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


The small GTPase Ras family regulates a variety of cell functions including proliferation and differentiation. Here we have identified novel Ras members, human Di-Ras1 and Di-Ras2, belonging to a distinct branch of the GTPase family. Di-Ras1 and Di-Ras2 specifically expressed in heart and brain share 30-40% overall identity with other members of Ras family, however, they have the following characteristic substitutions at highly conserved regions among the Ras family. 1) Thr-63 and Ser-65 in Di-Ras are substituted for Ala-59 and Gln-61 positions in Ha-Ras, respectively, that are known to be critical for GTP hydrolysis. 2) Within the effector domains, Di-Ras has Ile at a position corresponding to Asp-33 in Ha-Ras, which is important for its interaction with the downstream effector Raf. As predicted by these substitutions, Di-Ras has only a quite low level of GTPase activity and exists predominantly as a GTP-bound form upon its expression in living cells. Moreover, Di-Ras fails to interact with the Ras-binding domain of Raf, resulting in no stimulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase. Interestingly, introduction of Di-Ras into HEK293T cells induces large cellular vacuolation. These findings raise the possibility that Di-Ras might regulate cell morphogenesis in a manner distinct from other members of Ras family.

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