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Small GTP-binding proteins.

Physiological reviews

ADP-Ribosylation Factors, metabolism, Animals, Biological Transport, physiology, Cytoskeleton, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins, Signal Transduction, Vesicular Transport Proteins, cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein, rab GTP-Binding Proteins, rac GTP-Binding Proteins, ran GTP-Binding Protein, ras Proteins, rho GTP-Binding Proteins

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      Small GTP-binding proteins (G proteins) exist in eukaryotes from yeast to human and constitute a superfamily consisting of more than 100 members. This superfamily is structurally classified into at least five families: the Ras, Rho, Rab, Sar1/Arf, and Ran families. They regulate a wide variety of cell functions as biological timers (biotimers) that initiate and terminate specific cell functions and determine the periods of time for the continuation of the specific cell functions. They furthermore play key roles in not only temporal but also spatial determination of specific cell functions. The Ras family regulates gene expression, the Rho family regulates cytoskeletal reorganization and gene expression, the Rab and Sar1/Arf families regulate vesicle trafficking, and the Ran family regulates nucleocytoplasmic transport and microtubule organization. Many upstream regulators and downstream effectors of small G proteins have been isolated, and their modes of activation and action have gradually been elucidated. Cascades and cross-talks of small G proteins have also been clarified. In this review, functions of small G proteins and their modes of activation and action are described.

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