Activation of Rac1, RhoA, and mitogen-activated protein kinases is required for Ras transformation

Roya Khosravi-Far, Patricia A. Solski, Geoffrey J. Clark, Michael S. Kinch, Channing J. Der

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644 Scopus citations


Although substantial evidence supports a critical rule for the activation of Raf-1 and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) in oncogenic Ras- mediated transformation, recent evidence suggests that Ras may activate a second signaling pathway which involves the Ras-related proteins Rac1 and RhoA. Consequently, we used three complementary approaches to determine the contribution of Rac1 and RhoA function to oncogenic Ras-mediated transformation. First, whereas constitutively activated mutants of Rac1 and RhoA showed very weak transforming activity when transfected alone, their coexpression with a weakly transforming Raf-1 mutant caused a greater than 35-fold enhancement of transforming activity. Second, we observed that coexpression of dominant negative mutants of Rac1 and RhoA reduced oncogenic Ras transforming activity. Third, activated Rac1 and RhoA further enhanced oncogenic Ras-triggered morphologic transformation, as well as growth in soft agar and cell motility. Finally, we also observed that kinase-deficient MAPKs inhibited Ras transformation. Taken together, these data support the possibility that oncogenic Ras activation of Rac1 and RhoA, coupled with activation of the Raf/MAPK pathway, is required to trigger the full morphogenic and mitogenic consequences of oncogenic Ras transformation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6443-6453
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995


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