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Oncogene. 1998 Mar;16(11):1417-28.

Ha-ras and N-ras regulate MAPK activity by distinct mechanisms in vivo.

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Department of Cell Biology, Lerner Research Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.


The Ras GTPases function as molecular switches, regulating a multiplicity of biological events. However the contribution, if any, of a specific c-Ras isoform (Ha-, N-, or Ki-ras A or B) in the regulation of a given biological or biochemical process, is unknown. Murine C3H1OT1/2 fibroblasts transformed with activated (G12V)Ha-ras or (Q61K)N-ras proliferate in serum-free media and have constitutive MAPK activity. The growth factor antagonist, suramin, inhibited the serum-independent proliferation of Ha-ras transformed fibroblasts, but not the serum-independent proliferation of N-ras transformed cells. The inhibition of cell proliferation was concomitant with the abrogation of the constitutive MAPK activity in the Ha-ras transformed fibroblasts. Analysis of the Ras-signalling complexes in immunoprecipitates from Ha-ras transformed cells revealed that Raf-1 co-immunoprecipitated with endogenous c-N-ras but not (G12V)Ha-ras. Pretreatment with suramin resulted in the loss of Raf-1 from c-N-ras immunoprecipitates. A c-N-ras antisense oligonucleotide, which down-regulated c-N-ras protein levels, abrogated the constitutive MAPK activity and serum-independent proliferation of (G12V)Ha-ras transformed cells. The data suggest that Raf-1 has a higher affinity for N-ras then Ha-ras in vivo, and c-N-ras function is required for the serum-independent proliferation of Ha-ras transformed cells.

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