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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Feb;17(2):58-64. Epub 2006 Dec 11.

Cell type-specific functions of Rho GTPases revealed by gene targeting in mice.

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Division of Experimental Hematology, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, University of Cincinnati, 3333 Burnet Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Mammalian Rho family GTPases are intracellular signal transducers known to regulate multiple signaling pathways involved in actin organization and cell proliferation. However, previous knowledge of their cellular functions came mostly from studies using a dominant-negative or constitutively active mutant expression approach in various clonal cell lines. Such an approach has increasingly been recognized to impose experimental limitations related to specificity, dosage and/or clonal variation. Recent progress in mammalian Rho GTPase cell biology by gene targeting individual Rho GTPases in mice has provided more convincing evidence of their physiological roles and signaling pathways in diverse primary cells. Although adaptive compensation by related Rho GTPase members remains a potential concern in the gene targeting approach, in many cases these studies enable an elucidation of the unique functions of individual Rho GTPases in different cell types in vivo.

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