Regulation of immune responses and hematopoiesis by the Rap1 signal

Author(s): Minato N, Katagiri.K, Hattori M

Abstract

Rap1 (Ras-proximity 1), a member of the Ras family of small guanine triphosphatases (GTPases), is activated by diverse extracellular stimuli. While Rap1 has been discovered originally as a potential Ras antagonist, accumulating evidence indicates that Rap1 per se mediates unique signals and exerts biological functions distinctly different from Ras. Rap1 plays a dominant role in the control of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions by regulating the function of integrins and other adhesion molecules in various cell types. Rap1 also regulates MAP kinase (MAPK) activity in a manner highly dependent on the context of cell types. Recent studies (including gene-targeting analysis) have uncovered that the Rap1 signal is integrated crucially and unpredictably in the diverse aspects of comprehensive biological systems. This review summarizes the role of the Rap1 signal in developments and functions of the immune and hematopoietic systems as well as in malignancy. Importantly, Rap1 activation is tightly regulated in tissue cells, and dysregulations of the Rap1 signal in specific tissues result in certain disorders, including myeloproliferative disorders and leukemia, platelet dysfunction with defective hemostasis, leukocyte adhesion-deficiency syndrome, lupus-like systemic autoimmune disease, and T cell anergy. Many of these disorders resemble human diseases, and the Rap1 signal with its regulators may provide rational molecular targets for controlling certain human diseases including malignancy.

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