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Mol Biol Cell. 2007 Aug;18(8):2949-59. Epub 2007 May 30.

The M-Ras-RA-GEF-2-Rap1 pathway mediates tumor necrosis factor-alpha dependent regulation of integrin activation in splenocytes.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


The Rap1 small GTPase has been implicated in regulation of integrin-mediated leukocyte adhesion downstream of various chemokines and cytokines in many aspects of inflammatory and immune responses. However, the mechanism for Rap1 regulation in the adhesion signaling remains unclear. RA-GEF-2 is a member of the multiple-member family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for Rap1 and characterized by the possession of a Ras/Rap1-associating domain, interacting with M-Ras-GTP as an effector, in addition to the GEF catalytic domain. Here, we show that RA-GEF-2 is specifically responsible for the activation of Rap1 that mediates tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-triggered integrin activation. In BAF3 hematopoietic cells, activated M-Ras potently induced lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1)-mediated cell aggregation. This activation was totally abrogated by knockdown of RA-GEF-2 or Rap1. TNF-alpha treatment activated LFA-1 in a manner dependent on M-Ras, RA-GEF-2, and Rap1 and induced activation of M-Ras and Rap1 in the plasma membrane, which was accompanied by recruitment of RA-GEF-2. Finally, we demonstrated that M-Ras and RA-GEF-2 were indeed involved in TNF-alpha-stimulated and Rap1-mediated LFA-1 activation in splenocytes by using mice deficient in RA-GEF-2. These findings proved a crucial role of the cross-talk between two Ras-family GTPases M-Ras and Rap1, mediated by RA-GEF-2, in adhesion signaling.

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