Nonconventional trafficking of Ras associated with Ras signal organization

Uri Ashery, Ofer Yizhar, Barak Rotblat, Yoel Kloog

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Ras signaling to its downstream effectors appears to include combinations of extracellular-signal-regulated Ras activation at the plasma membrane (PM) and endomembranes, dynamic lateral segregation in the PM, and translocation of Ras from the PM to intracellular compartments. These processes are governed by the C-terminal polybasic farnesyl domain in K-Ras 4B and by the cysteine-palmitoylated C-terminal farnesyl domains in H-Ras and N-Ras. K-Ras 4B has no palmitoylated cysteines. Depalmitoylation/repalmitoylation of H-/N-Ras proteins promotes their cellular redistribution and signaling by mechanisms as yet unknown, possibly involving chaperones. Palmitoylation of H-/N-Ras also promotes their association with 'rasosomes', randomly diffusing nanoparticles that apparently provide a means by which multiple copies of activated Ras and its signal can spread rapidly. Ubiquitination of H-Ras evidently targets it to the endosomes. The polybasic farnesyl domain of K-Ras 4B was shown to act as a target for Ca++/ calmodulin, which sequesters the active protein from the PM, thereby facilitating its trafficking to Golgi apparatus and early endosomes. Protein kinase C-dependent phosphorylation of S181 in K-Ras 4B was shown to provide a regulated farnesyl-electrostatic switch on K-Ras 4B, which promotes its translocation to the mitochondria. All these translocation events are characterized by nonconventional trafficking of the farnesyl-modified Ras proteins and seem to govern the selectivity and probably also the robustness of the Ras signal. In this review, we discuss the various modifications and interactions of the farnesylated C-terminus, the trafficking of Ras proteins in the PM and between the PM and the endomembranes, and the relevance of the subcellular localization of Ras for Ras function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1119-1126
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Farnesylation
  • Galectin-1
  • Galectin-3
  • Palmitoylation
  • Ras
  • Rasosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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