Regulation of Ras signaling and function by plasma membrane microdomains

Biosci Trends. 2017 Mar 22;11(1):23-40. doi: 10.5582/bst.2016.01220. Epub 2017 Feb 7.


Together H-, N- and KRAS mutations are major contributors to ~30% of all human cancers. Thus, Ras inhibition remains an important anti-cancer strategy. The molecular mechanisms of isotypic Ras oncogenesis are still not completely understood. Monopharmacological therapeutics have not been successful in the clinic. These disappointing outcomes have led to attempts to target elements downstream of Ras, mainly targeting either the Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase (PI3K) or Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) pathways. While several such approaches are moderately effective, recent efforts have focused on preclinical evaluation of combination therapies to improve efficacies. This review will detail current understanding of the contributions of plasma membrane microdomain targeting of Ras to mitogenic and tumorigenic signaling and tumor progression. Moreover, this review will outline novel approaches to target Ras in cancers, including targeting schemes for new drug development, as well as putative re-purposing of drugs in current use to take advantage of blunting Ras signaling by interfering with Ras plasma membrane microdomain targeting and retention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Signal Transduction*
  • ras Proteins / chemistry
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • ras Proteins