Human RAS Superfamily Proteins and Related GTPases

Science's STKE  14 Sep 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 250, pp. re13
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2502004re13

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Proteins that bind and hydrolyze GTP (guanosine triphosphate), known as GTPases, are pervasive mediators of intracellular signal transduction. Among the first human GTPases studied were the RAS proteins, which are often found in mutated, hyperactive forms in cancer cells. Over the past 25 years, a family of RAS-related proteins has been identified. This review considers recent progress in understanding the biochemical properties and biological function of RAS family proteins. Analysis of the human genome was used to identify novel members of this family. In addition, comparisons with the completed genomes of fly and worm revealed new insights into evolution and structural conservation, with implications for predicting function. An overview of the full complement of human RAS superfamily proteins, and how they fit within a larger group of human GTPases, is presented.