The role of Rho GTPases in the regulation of the rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton and cell movement

Exp Mol Med. 2004 Aug 31;36(4):358-66. doi: 10.1038/emm.2004.47.


The rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton has been shown to play a critical role in the development of transformation and malignant phenotype of cancer cells. Rho family GTPases regulate the arrangement of the actin cytoskeleton. By wound-healing assay, we have found that NIH 3T3 fibroblast cells move towards the wound- gaps by extending filopodial and lamellipdial structures at the leading edge of the moving cells. We have inactivated the function of Rho GTPases of v-Ras transformed NIH 3T3 cells by overexpressing Rho GTPase-activating (RhoGAP) domain of RhoGAP of p190. We have observed that inactivation of Rho, Rac and Cdc42 GTPases by overexpressing RHG causes inhibition of: (i) polymerization of actin to form filaments, (ii) formation of lamellipodia, filopodia and stress fibres, (iii) cell motility, (iv) cell spreading and (v) cell-to-cell adhesions. These results further strengthen the current knowledge on the role of Rho, Rac and Cdc42 GTPases in the regulation of the rearrangement of actin cytoskeleton. Our results, for the first time, demonstrate that RhoGAP domain of RhoGAP could be used to study the molecular mechanism of Ras-mediated signalling in growth, differentiation and carcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / ultrastructure*
  • Animals
  • Biological Assay
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / ultrastructure*
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Wound Healing
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins