Characterization of EHT 1864, a novel small molecule inhibitor of Rac family small GTPases

Methods Enzymol. 2008;439:111-29. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(07)00409-0.


There is now considerable experimental evidence that aberrant activation of Rho family small GTPases promotes uncontrolled proliferation, invasion, and metastatic properties of human cancer cells. Therefore, there is considerable interest in the development of small molecule inhibitors of Rho GTPase function. However, to date, most efforts have focused on inhibitors that block Rho GTPase function indirectly, either by targeting enzymes involved in post-translational processing or downstream protein kinase effectors. We have reported the identification and characterization of the EHT 1864 small molecule as an inhibitor of Rac family small GTPases, placing Rac1 in an inert and inactive state and then impairing Rac1-mediated functions in vivo. Our work suggests that EHT 1864 selectively inhibits Rac1 downstream signaling and cellular transformation by a novel mechanism involving guanine nucleotide displacement. This chapter provides the details for some of the biochemical and biological methods used to characterize the mode of action of EHT 1864 on Rac1 and its impact on Rac1-dependent cellular functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Pyrones / chemistry
  • Pyrones / pharmacology*
  • Quinolines / chemistry
  • Quinolines / pharmacology*
  • p21-Activated Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein / chemistry


  • EHT 1864
  • Pyrones
  • Quinolines
  • RAC1 protein, human
  • PAK1 protein, human
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein