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EMBO J. 2004 Apr 7;23(7):1567-75. Epub 2004 Mar 18.

Developmentally regulated role for Ras-GRFs in coupling NMDA glutamate receptors to Ras, Erk and CREB.

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Department of Biochemistry, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.


p140 Ras-GRF1 and p130 Ras-GRF2 constitute a family of calcium/calmodulin-regulated guanine-nucleotide exchange factors that activate the Ras GTPases. Studies on mice lacking these exchange factors revealed that both p140 Ras-GRF1 and p130 Ras-GRF2 couple NMDA glutamate receptors (NMDARs) to the activation of the Ras/Erk signaling cascade and to the maintenance of CREB transcription factor activity in cortical neurons of adult mice. Consistent with this function for Ras-GRFs and the known neuroprotective effect of CREB activity, ischemia-induced CREB activation is reduced in the brains of adult Ras-GRF knockout mice and neuronal damage is enhanced. Interestingly, in cortical neurons of neonatal animals NMDARs signal through Sos rather than Ras-GRF exchange factors, implying that Ras-GRFs endow NMDARs with functions unique to mature neurons.

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