RRAS: Human Ras related protein
PDB Code: 2FN4
Cells respond in many ways to environmental changes including altering gene expression, physically moving locations, changes to cell-cell interactions, differentiation and even altering their life spans. This is achieved through a signalling network that consists of several signalling pathways. The network receives multiple signals, interprets the signals, amplified and then transmits the signals. One of the best characterised signalling pathways involves the ras GTPase family. The importance of this family of small GTPases to human health was first recognised through the identification of the human H-Ras, N-Ras and K-Ras genes as being oncogenic.
One such cellular response to the environment is cell migration or growth in a particular direction. RRAS has been shown to control the neurite outgrowth in hippocampal neurons through a complex formation with two other proteins, semaphorin 4Dreceptor plexin-B1 and another small GTPase RND1. As part of this process, cell attachment points are formed via focal adhesions that involve integrins which in turn are regulated by RRAS. Therapeutic targeting of RRAS in order to inhibit the cell migration process has been suggested as a potential treatment for gastric cancer.
RRAS also regulates the response of blood vessels and endothelial cells to injury as demonstrated by the exaggerated response to injury in RRAS-knockout mice hence RRAS also has potential as a therapeutic intervention point in vascular diseases.
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