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Trends Cell Biol. 1996 Aug;6(8):304-10.

Rho: a connection between membrane receptor signalling and the cytoskeleton.

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MRC-LMCB and Dept of Biochemistry, University College London, Gower St, London, UK WC1E 6BT.


The Rho family of GTP-binding proteins has yielded fresh insights into cell signalling in relation to motility, shape and the control of the actin cytoskeleton. Rho itself is probably near the top of several diverse signalling cascades and has been implicated in cell adhesion, actin filament organization, control of mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways and phospholipid synthesis and turnover. As a member of the Ras superfamily, Rho is regulated by GDP-GTP exchange factors (GEFs) that have homology to the dbl oncogene, and by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). These proteins regulate the nucleotide (GDP or GTP) bound to Rho, thus determining the activity of Rho and the interactions of Rho with many of its downstream targets. In the past year, many new targets of Rho have been identified, which hopefully will uncover molecular connections among the diverse downstream effects of Rho activation.

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