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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 Jul;16(7):3923-33.

Oncogenic Ras activation of Raf/mitogen-activated protein kinase-independent pathways is sufficient to cause tumorigenic transformation.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-7365,USA.


Substantial evidence supports a critical role for the activation of the Raf-1/MEK/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in oncogenic Ras-mediated transformation. For example, dominant negative mutants of Raf-1, MEK, and mitogen-activated protein kinase all inhibit Ras transformation. Furthermore, the observation that plasma membrane-localized Raf-1 exhibits the same transforming potency as oncogenic Ras suggests that Raf-1 activation alone is sufficient to mediate full Ras transforming activity. However, the recent identification of other candidate Ras effectors (e.g., RalGDS and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase) suggests that activation of other downstream effector-mediated signaling pathways may also mediate Ras transforming activity. In support of this, two H-Ras effector domain mutants, H-Ras(12V, 37G) and H-Ras(12V, 40C), which are defective for Raf binding and activation, induced potent tumorigenic transformation of some strains of NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. These Raf-binding defective mutants of H-Ras induced a transformed morphology that was indistinguishable from that induced by activated members of Rho family proteins. Furthermore, the transforming activities of both of these mutants were synergistically enhanced by activated Raf-1 and inhibited by the dominant negative RhoA(19N) mutant, indicating that Ras may cause transformation that occurs via coordinate activation of Raf-dependent and -independent pathways that involves Rho family proteins. Finally, cotransfection of H-Ras(12V, 37G) and H-Ras(12V, 40C) resulted in synergistic cooperation of their focus-forming activities, indicating that Ras activates at least two Raf-independent, Ras effector-mediated signaling events.

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