GAP control: regulating the regulators of small GTPases

Trends Cell Biol. 2004 Jul;14(7):377-85. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2004.05.003.


The small GTPases of the Ras superfamily mediate numerous biological processes through their ability to cycle between an inactive GDP-bound and an active GTP-bound form. Among the key regulators of GTPase cycling are the GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs), which stimulate the weak intrinsic GTP-hydrolysis activity of the GTPases, thereby inactivating them. Despite the abundance of GAPs and the fact that mutations in GAP-encoding genes underlie several human diseases, these proteins have received relatively little attention. Recent studies have addressed the regulatory mechanisms that influence GAP activity. So far, findings suggest that GAP activity is regulated by several mechanisms, including protein-protein interactions, phospholipid interactions, phosphorylation, subcellular translocation and proteolytic degradation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology


  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases