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Oncogene. 1994 Aug;9(8):2405-13.

Vav cooperates with Ras to transform rodent fibroblasts but is not a Ras GDP/GTP exchange factor.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, New Jersey 08543.


Vav is a proto-oncogene specifically expressed in cells of hematopoietic origin. Its gene product contains a series of structural motifs, including SH2 and SH3 domains, suggestive of a role in signal transduction. The Vav protein also possesses a Dbl-homology (DH) domain previously found in regulators of the Ras superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins. Recently, Vav has been reported to be the major Ras GDP/GTP exchange factor (GEF) in hematopoietic cells [Gulbins et al., Science 260, 822 (1993); J. Immunol. 152, 2123 (1994)]. The following observations are inconsistent with such a role: (i) Vav proteins do not exhibit Ras GEF activity in standard GDP/GTP exchange assays; (ii) Cells overexpressing Vav do not have increased levels of GTP-bound Ras proteins; (iii) Overexpression of Vav does not overcome the growth inhibitory activity of RasN17, a mutant that blocks Ras signaling by inhibiting Ras GEFs; (iv) Transformation of NIH3T3 cells by Vav oncoproteins is not inhibited by a farnesyl transferase inhibitor that completely blocks transformation by both Ras and its well characterized GEF, RasCDC25 and (v) The morphology of Vav-transformed NIH3T3 cells is dramatically different from that induced by Ras and RasCDC25. Whereas these observations make it unlikely that Vav functions either as a RasGEF or as an upstream regulatory element of Ras, we have observed that Vav can cooperate with normal Ras proteins to transform NIH3T3 cells. These results suggest that Vav and Ras may mediate signal transduction by distinct, but interactive mitogenic pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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