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Leuk Lymphoma. 2014 Dec;55(12):2907-16. doi: 10.3109/10428194.2014.898759. Epub 2014 Apr 2.

Amplification of B cell receptor-Erk signaling by Rasgrf-1 overexpression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare Center, UCLA School of Medicine , Los Angeles, CA , USA.


Rasgrf-1 is a guanine exchange factor (GEF) that catalyzes the exchange of GDP for GTP. In a RNA microarray analysis of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) specimens (n = 5), this gene was found to be overexpressed in CLL as compared to normal peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) CD19 + B cells (n = 3). CLL specimens (n = 29) expressed Rasgrf-1 RNA at levels 5-300-fold higher as compared to normal B cells. CLL specimens expressed a 75 kDa isoform that was smaller than the expected full-length protein (140 kDa) and the truncated variant had higher GEF activity. Knockdown of Rasgrf-1 in CLL specimens inhibited active GTP-bound Ras and the Ras/Erk/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Rasgrf-1 was phosphorylated and activated by B cell receptor (BCR) signaling that increased its GEF function, and this phosphorylation was blocked by Src and Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors. Rasgrf-1 is a novel GEF protein that has a role in BCR signaling and its overexpression further activates the Ras/Erk/MAPK pathway in CLL specimens.


B cell receptor; CLL; Erk pathway; Rasgrf-1; guanine exchange factor

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