Vav proteins, masters of the world of cytoskeleton organization

Cell Signal. 2004 Jan;16(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/s0898-6568(03)00110-4.


Vav proteins are evolutionarily conserved from nematodes to mammals and play a pivotal role in many aspects of cellular signaling, coupling cell surface receptors to various effectors functions. In mammals, there are three family members; Vav1 is specifically expressed in the hematopoietic system, whereas Vav2 and Vav3 are more ubiquitously expressed. Vav proteins contain multiple domains that enable their function in various fashions. The participation of the Vav proteins in several processes that require cytoskeletal reorganization, such as the formation of the immunological synapse (IS), phagocytosis, platelet aggregation, spreading, and transformation will be discussed in this review. We will also cover how the Vav proteins succeed in controlling these processes by their function as guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for the Rho/Rac family of GTPases. The contribution of the Vav proteins in a GEF-independent manner to the organization of the cytoskeleton will also be deliberated. The scope of this review is to highlight the numerous roles of the Vav signal transducer proteins in actin organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication / immunology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / immunology*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Oncogene Proteins / immunology*
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-vav
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*


  • Actins
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-vav
  • VAV1 protein, human
  • VAV3 protein, human
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases