IMR Press / FBL / Volume 16 / Issue 5 / DOI: 10.2741/3814

Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Open Access Article
Death pathways triggered by activated Ras in cancer cells
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1 Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, Ohio 43614, USA
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2011, 16(5), 1693–1713; https://doi.org/10.2741/3814
Published: 1 January 2011
Abstract

Ras GTPases are best known for their ability to serve as molecular switches regulating cell growth, differentiation and survival. Gene mutations that result in expression of constitutively active forms of Ras have been linked to oncogenesis in animal models and humans. However, over the past two decades, evidence has gradually accumulated to support a paradoxical role for Ras proteins in the initiation of cell death pathways. In this review we survey the literature pointing to the ability of activated Ras to promote cell death under conditions where cancer cells encounter apoptotic stimuli or Ras is ectopically expressed. In some of these cases Ras acts through known effectors and well defined apoptotic death pathways. However, in other cases it appears that Ras operates by triggering novel non-apoptotic death mechanisms that are just beginning to be characterized. Understanding these mechanisms and the factors that go into changing the nature of Ras signaling from pro-survival to pro-death could set the stage for development of novel therapeutic approaches aimed at manipulating pro-death Ras signaling pathways in cancer.

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