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Exp Cell Res. 2007 Apr 15;313(7):1484-95. Epub 2007 Feb 23.

Ras-association domain family protein 6 induces apoptosis via both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Graduate School of Medicine, Rm D602, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


The Ras-association domain family (RASSF) comprises six members (RASSF1-6) that each harbors a RalGDS/AF-6 (RA) and Sav/RASSF/Hippo (SARAH) domain. The RASSF proteins are known as putative tumor suppressors but RASSF6 has not yet been studied. We have here characterized human RASSF6. Although RASSF6 has RA domain, it does not bind Ki-Ras, Ha-Ras, N-Ras, M-Ras, or TC21 under the condition that Nore1 (RASSF5) binds these Ras proteins. The message of RASSF6 is detected by RT-PCR in several cell lines including HeLa, MCF-7, U373, A549, and HepG2 cells, but the protein expression is low. The enhanced expression of RASSF6 causes apoptosis in HeLa cells. RASSF6 activates Bax and induces cytochrome C release. Caspase-3 activation is also induced, but the caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK, does not block RASSF6-mediated apoptosis. Apoptosis-inducing factor and endonuclease G are released from the mitochondria upon expression of RASSF6 and their releases are not blocked by Z-VAD-FMK. The knock down of RASSF6 partially blocks tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced cell death in HeLa cells. These findings indicate that RASSF6 is implicated in apoptosis in HeLa cells and that it triggers both caspase-dependent and caspase-independent pathways.

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