Compartmentalized Ras/MAPK signaling

Annu Rev Immunol. 2006;24:771-800. doi: 10.1146/annurev.immunol.24.021605.090723.


Signal transduction down the Ras/MAPK pathway, including that critical to T cell activation, proliferation, and differentiation, has been generally considered to occur at the plasma membrane. It is now clear that the plasma membrane does not represent the only platform for Ras/MAPK signaling. Moreover, the plasma membrane itself is no longer considered a uniform structure but rather a patchwork of microdomains that can compartmentalize signaling. Signaling on internal membranes was first recognized on endosomes. Genetically encoded fluorescent probes for signaling events such as GTP/GDP exchange on Ras have revealed signaling on a variety of intracellular membranes, including the Golgi apparatus. In fibroblasts, Ras is activated on the plasma membrane and Golgi with distinct kinetics. The pathway by which Golgi-associated Ras becomes activated involves PLCgamma and RasGRP1 and may also require retrograde trafficking of Ras from the plasma membrane to the Golgi as a consequence of depalmitoylation. Thus, the Ras/MAPK pathway represents a clear example of compartmentalized signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Genes, ras
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System* / immunology
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • ras Proteins / immunology
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • ras Proteins