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Mol Biol Cell. 2006 Jun;17(6):2770-9. Epub 2006 Apr 5.

In vivo dynamics of Rac-membrane interactions.

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Cardiovascular Research Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The small GTPase Rac cycles between the membrane and the cytosol as it is activated by nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and inactivated by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Solubility in the cytosol is conferred by binding of Rac to guanine-nucleotide dissociation inhibitors (GDIs). To analyze the in vivo dynamics of Rac, we developed a photobleaching method to measure the dissociation rate constant (k(off)) of membrane-bound GFP-Rac. We find that k(off) is 0.048 s(-1) for wtRac and approximately 10-fold less (0.004 s(-1)) for G12VRac. Thus, the major route for dissociation is conversion of membrane-bound GTP-Rac to GDP-Rac; however, dissociation of GTP-Rac occurs at a detectable rate. Overexpression of the GEF Tiam1 unexpectedly decreased k(off) for wtRac, most likely by converting membrane-bound GDP-Rac back to GTP-Rac. Both overexpression and small hairpin RNA-mediated suppression of RhoGDI strongly affected the amount of membrane-bound Rac but surprisingly had only slight effects on k(off). These results indicate that RhoGDI controls Rac function mainly through effects on activation and/or membrane association.

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