Activation of the Ran GTPase is subject to growth factor regulation and can give rise to cellular transformation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although the small GTPase Ran is best known for its roles in nucleocytoplasmic transport, mitotic spindle assembly, and nuclear envelope formation, recent studies have demonstrated the overexpression of Ran in multiple tumor types and that its expression is correlated with a poor patient prognosis, providing evidence for the importance of this GTPase in cell growth regulation. Here we show that Ran is subject to growth factor regulation by demonstrating that it is activated in a serum-dependent manner in human breast cancer cells and, in particular, in response to heregulin, a growth factor that activates the Neu/ErbB2 tyrosine kinase. The heregulin-dependent activation of Ran requires mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) and stimulates the capped RNA binding capability of the cap-binding complex in the nucleus, thus influencing gene expression at the level of mRNA processing. We further demonstrate that the excessive activation of Ran has important consequences for cell growth by showing that a novel, activated Ran mutant is sufficient to transform NIH-3T3 cells in an mTOR- and epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent manner and that Ran-transformed cells form tumors in mice.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Ly, T. K., Wang, J., Pereira, R., Rojas, K. S., Peng, X. u., Feng, Q., Cerione, R. A., & Wilson, K. F.

citation count

  • 49

publication date

  • February 2010