Rho and Rac take center stage

Cell. 2004 Jan 23;116(2):167-79. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(04)00003-0.


Many features of cell behavior are regulated by Rho family GTPases, but the most profound effects of these proteins are on the actin cytoskeleton and it was these that first drew attention to this family of signaling proteins. Focusing on Rho and Rac, we will discuss how their effectors regulate the actin cytoskeleton. We will describe how the activity of Rho proteins is regulated downstream from growth factor receptors and cell adhesion molecules by guanine nucleotide exchange factors and GTPase activating proteins. Additionally, we will discuss how there is signaling crosstalk between family members and how various bacterial pathogens have developed strategies to manipulate Rho protein activity so as to enhance their own survival.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Integrins / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Phylogeny
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Actins
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Integrins
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins