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Immunol Rev. 2007 Aug;218:92-101.

Signaling by small GTPases in the immune system.

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Co-ordinating Center for Clinical Trials, Martin Luther University, Halle, Germany.


The Ras superfamily consists of over 50 low-molecular-weight proteins that cycle between an inactive guanosine diphosphate-bound state and an active guanosine triphosphate (GTP)-bound state. They are involved in a variety of signal transduction pathways that regulate cell growth, intracellular trafficking, cell migration, and apoptosis. Several methods have been devised to measure the activation state of Ras proteins, defined as the percent of Ras molecules in the active GTP-bound state. We have previously developed a quantitative biochemical method that can be applied to animal and human tissues and have used it to measure the activation state of Ras, Rap1, Rheb, and Rho proteins in cultured cells and in animal and human tumors. Ras, Rac, and Rho all play roles in regulating the functions of T and B lymphocytes and dendritic cells, and these proteins are clearly important in maintaining normal immune system function.

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