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Mol Cell Biol. 1994 Jul;14(7):4749-58.

Direct stimulation of Vav guanine nucleotide exchange activity for Ras by phorbol esters and diglycerides.

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Division of Cell Biology, La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, California 92037.


We recently identified Vav as a Ras-activating guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) stimulated by a T-cell antigen receptor-coupled protein tyrosine kinase (PTK). Here, we describe a novel, protein kinase-independent alternative pathway of Vav activation. Phorbol ester, 1,2-diacylglycerol, or ceramide treatment of intact T cells, Vav immunoprecipitates, or partially purified Vav generated by in vitro translation or COS-1 cell transfection stimulated the Ras exchange activity of Vav in the absence of detectable tyrosine phosphorylation. GEF activity of gel-purified Vav was similarly stimulated by phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). Stimulation was resistant to PTK and protein kinase C inhibitors but was blocked by calphostin, a PMA and diacylglycerol antagonist. In vitro-translated Vav lacking its cysteine-rich domain, or mutated at a single cysteine residue within this domain (C528A), was not stimulated by PMA but was fully activated by p56lck. This correlated with increased binding of radiolabeled phorbol ester to COS-1 cells expressing wild-type, but not C528A-mutated, Vav. Thus, Vav itself is a PMA-binding and -activated Ras GEF. Recombinant interleukin-1 alpha stimulated Vav via this pathway, suggesting that diglyceride-mediated Vav activation may couple PTK-independent receptors which stimulate production of lipid second messengers to Ras in hematopoietic cells.

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