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Nature. 1991 May 30;351(6325):400-2.

Bcr encodes a GTPase-activating protein for p21rac.

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  • 1Chester Beatty Beatty Laboratories, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.


More than thirty small guanine nucleotide-binding proteins related to the ras-encoded oncoprotein, termed Ras or p21ras, are known. They regulate many fundamental processes in all eukaryotic cells, such as growth, vesicle traffic and cytoskeletal organization. GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) accelerate the intrinsic rate of GTP hydrolysis of Ras-related proteins, leading to down-regulation of the active GTP-bound form. For p21ras, two GAP proteins are known, rasGAP and the neurofibromatosis (NF1) gene product. There is evidence that rasGAP may also be a target protein for regulation by Ras and be involved in downstream signalling. We have purified a GAP protein for p21rho, which is involved in the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. Partial sequencing of rhoGAP reveals significant homology with the product of the bcr (breakpoint cluster region) gene, the translocation breakpoint in Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukaemias. We show here that the carboxy-terminal domains of the bcr-encoded protein (Bcr) and of a Bcr-related protein, n-chimaerin, are both GAP proteins for the Ras-related GTP-binding protein, p21rac. This result suggest that Bcr could be a target for regulation by Rac and has important new implications for the role of bcr translocations in leukaemia.

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