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FEBS Lett. 2009 Jan 5;583(1):75-80. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2008.12.008. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Molecular basis for the substrate specificity of plant guanine nucleotide exchange factors for ROP.

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Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Structural Biology Department, Dortmund, Germany.


Plant G proteins of the ROP/RAC family regulate cellular processes including cytoskeletal rearrangement in polar growth. Activation of the ROP molecular switch is triggered by guanine nucleotide exchange factors. Plant-specific RopGEFs are exclusively active on ROPs despite their high homology to animal Rho proteins. Based on a sequence comparison of ROPs vs. animal Rho proteins together with structural data on distinct ROPs, we identified unique substrate determinants of RopGEF specificity by mutational analysis: asparagine 68 next to switch II, arginine 76 of a putative phosphorylation motif and the Rho insert are essential for substrate recognition by RopGEFs. These data also provide first evidence for a function of the Rho insert in interactions with GEFs.

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