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Trends Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;17(8):383-93. Epub 2007 Aug 31.

GEF what? Dock180 and related proteins help Rac to polarize cells in new ways.

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Cytoskeletal Organization and Cell Migration Laboratory, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, Université de Montréal, 110 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, PQ H2W1R7, Canada.


Rho GTPase activation, which is mediated by guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), is tightly regulated in time and space. Although Rho GTPases have a significant role in many biological events, they are best known for their ability to restructure the actin cytoskeleton profoundly through the activation of specific downstream effectors. Two distinct families of GEFs for Rho GTPases have been reported so far, based on the features of their catalytic domains: firstly, the classical GEFs, which contain a Dbl homology-pleckstrin homology domain module with GEF activity, and secondly, the Dock180-related GEFs, which contain a Dock homology region-2 domain that catalyzes guanine nucleotide exchange on Rho GTPases. Recent exciting data suggest key roles for the DHR-2 domain-containing GEFs in a wide variety of fundamentally important biological functions, including cell migration, phagocytosis of apoptotic cells, myoblast fusion and neuronal polarization.

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