Ras proteins are small GTPase functioning as molecular switches that, in response to particular extracellular signalling, as growth factors, activate a diverse array of intracellular effector cascades regulating cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. Human tumours frequently express Ras proteins (Ha-, Ki-, N-Ras) activated by point mutations which contribute to malignant phenotype, including invasiveness and angiogenesis. Despite the common signalling pathways leading to similar cellular responses, studies clearly demonstrate unique roles of the Ras family members in normal and pathological conditions and the lack of functional redundancy seems to be explainable, at least in part, by the ability of Ras isoforms to localize in different microdomains to plasma membrane and intracellular organelles. This different intracellular compartmentalization could help Ras isoforms to contact different downstream effectors finally leading to different biological outcomes. Interestingly, it has also been shown that Ha- and Ki-Ras exert an opposite role in regulating intracellular redox status. In this regard we suggest that H-Ras specific induction of ROS (reactive oxygen species) production could be one of the main determinants of the invasive phenotype which characterize cancer cells harbouring H-Ras mutations. In our hypothesis then, while K-Ras (not able to promote oxidative stress) could mainly contribute to cancer progression and invasiveness through activation of MAPK and PI3K, H-Ras-mediated oxidative stress could play a unique role in modulation of intercellular contacts leading to a loss of cell adhesion and eventually also to a metastatic spread.
|Numero di pagine||4|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2012|