Direct involvement of the small GTPase Rac in activation of the superoxide-producing NADPH oxidase Nox1

J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 4;281(31):21857-21868. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M513665200. Epub 2006 Jun 8.


Activation of the non-phagocytic superoxide-producing NADPH oxidase Nox1, complexed with p22(phox) at the membrane, requires its regulatory soluble proteins Noxo1 and Noxa1. However, the role of the small GTPase Rac remained to be clarified. Here we show that Rac directly participates in Nox1 activation via interacting with Noxa1. Electropermeabilized HeLa cells, ectopically expressing Nox1, Noxo1, and Noxa1, produce superoxide in a GTP-dependent manner, which is abrogated by expression of a mutant Noxa1(R103E), defective in Rac binding. Superoxide production in Nox1-expressing HeLa and Caco-2 cells is decreased by depletion or sequestration of Rac; on the other hand, it is enhanced by expression of the constitutively active Rac1(Q61L), but not by that of a mutant Rac1 with the A27K substitution, deficient in binding to Noxa1. We also demonstrate that Nox1 activation requires membrane recruitment of Noxa1, which is normally mediated via Noxa1 binding to Noxo1, a protein tethered to the Nox1 partner p22(phox): the Noxa1-Noxo1 and Noxo1-p22(phox) interactions are both essential for Nox1 activity. Rac likely facilitates the membrane localization of Noxa1: although Noxa1(W436R), defective in Noxo1 binding, neither associates with the membrane nor activates Nox1, the effects of the W436R substitution are restored by expression of Rac1(Q61L). The Rac-Noxa1 interaction also serves at a step different from the Noxa1 localization, because the binding-defective Noxa1(R103E), albeit targeted to the membrane, does not support superoxide production by Nox1. Furthermore, a mutant Noxa1 carrying the substitution of Ala for Val-205 in the activation domain, which is expected to undergo a conformational change upon Rac binding, fully localizes to the membrane but fails to activate Nox1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport / metabolism
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Enzyme Activation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism*
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / genetics


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport
  • NOXA1 protein, human
  • NOXO1 protein, human
  • Superoxides
  • NADPH Oxidase 1
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • NOX1 protein, human
  • CYBA protein, human
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein