Arozarena, Imanol, Aaronson, D.S., Matallanas, D., Sanz, V., Ajenjo, N., Tenbaum, S.P., Teramoto, H., Ighishi, T., Zabala, J.C., Gutkind, J.S. and Crespo, P. (2000) The Rho family GTPase Cdc42 regulates the activation of Ras/MAP kinase by the exchange factor Ras-GRF. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 275 (34). pp. 26441-26448. ISSN 0021-9258

The Ras guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Ras-GRF/Cdc25(Mn) harbors a complex array of structural motifs that include a Dbl-homology (DH) domain, usually found in proteins that interact functionally with the Rho family GTPases, and the role of which is not yet fully understood. Here, we present evidence that Ras-GRF requires its DH domain to translocate to the membrane, to stimulate exchange on Ras, and to activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). In an unprecedented fashion, we have found that these processes are regulated by the Rho family GTPase Cdc42. We show that GDP- but not GTP-bound Cdc42 prevents Ras-GRF recruitment to the membrane and activation of Ras/MAPK, although no direct association of Ras-GRF with Cdc42 was detected. We also demonstrate that catalyzing GDP/GTP exchange on Cdc42 facilitates Ras-GRF-induced MAPK activation. Moreover, we show that the potentiating effect of ionomycin on Ras-GRF-mediated MAPK stimulation is also regulated by Cdc42. These results provide the first evidence for the involvement of a Rho family G protein in the control of the activity of a Ras exchange factor.

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