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Opposing functions of Ki- and Ha-Ras genes in the regulation of redox signals

Opposing functions of Ki- and Ha-Ras genes in the regulation of redox signals

Current Biology 11(8): 614-619

Ras p21 signaling is involved in multiple aspects of growth, differentiation, and stress response [1-2]. There is evidence pointing to superoxides as relays of Ras signaling messages. Chemicals with antioxidant activity suppress Ras-induced DNA synthesis. The inhibition of Ras significantly reduces the production of superoxides by the NADPH-oxidase complex [3]. Kirsten and Harvey are nonallelic Ras cellular genes that share a high degree of structural and functional homology. The sequences of Ki- and Ha-Ras proteins are almost identical. They diverge only in the 20-amino acid hypervariable domain at the COOH termini. To date, their functions remain indistinguishable [4]. We show that Ki- and Ha-Ras genes differently regulate the redox state of the cell. Ha-Ras-expressing cells produce high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by inducing the NADPH-oxidase system. Ki-Ras, on the other hand, stimulates the scavenging of ROS by activating posttranscriptionally the mitochondrial antioxidant enzyme, Mn-superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD), via an ERK1/2-dependent pathway. Glutamic acid substitution of the four lysine residues in the polybasic stretch at the COOH terminus of Ki-Ras completely abolishes the activation of Mn-SOD, although it does not inhibit ERK1/2-induced transcription. In contrast, an alanine substitution of the cysteine of the CAAX box has very little effect on Mn-SOD activity but eliminates ERK1/2- dependent transcription.

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Accession: 046870296

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PMID: 11369207

DOI: 10.1016/s0960-9822(01)00159-2

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