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Ras Dimer Formation as a New Signaling Mechanism and Potential Cancer Therapeutic Target

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 5 ]


Mo Chen, Alec Peters, Tao Huang and Xiaolin Nan   Pages 391 - 403 ( 13 )


The K-, N-, and HRas small GTPases are key regulators of cell physiology and are frequently mutated in human cancers. Despite intensive research, previous efforts to target hyperactive Ras based on known mechanisms of Ras signaling have been met with little success. Several studies have provided compelling evidence for the existence and biological relevance of Ras dimers, establishing a new mechanism for regulating Ras activity in cells additionally to GTP-loading and membrane localization. Existing data also start to reveal how Ras proteins dimerize on the membrane. We propose a dimer model to describe Ras-mediated effector activation, which contrasts existing models of Ras signaling as a monomer or as a 5-8 membered multimer. We also discuss potential implications of this model in both basic and translational Ras biology.


Ras signaling, Ras dimer, membrane clustering, cancer, targeted therapy.


Department of Biomedical Engineering, Knight Cancer Institute, and OHSU Center for Spatial Systems Biomedicine (OCSSB), Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR.

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