A conserved binding motif defines numerous candidate target proteins for both Cdc42 and Rac GTPases

J Biol Chem. 1995 Dec 8;270(49):29071-4. doi: 10.1074/jbc.270.49.29071.


Rho, Rac, and Cdc42 are small GTPases that regulate the formation of a variety of actin structures and the assembly of associated integrin complexes, but little is known about the target proteins that mediate their effects. Here we have used a motif-based search method to identify putative effector proteins for Rac and Cdc42. A search of the GenBankTM data base for similarity with the minimum Cdc42/Rac interactive binding (CRIB) region of a potential effector protein p65PAK has identified over 25 proteins containing a similar motif from a range of different species. These candidate Cdc42/Rac-binding proteins include family members of the mixed lineage kinases (MLK), a novel tyrosine kinase from Drosophila melanogaster (DPR2), a human protein MSE55, and several novel yeast and Caenorhabditis elegans proteins. Two murine p65PAK isoforms and a candidate protein from C. elegans, F09F7.5, interact strongly with the GTP form of both Cdc42 and Rac, but not Rho in a filter binding assay. Three additional candidate proteins, DPR2, MSE55, and MLK3 showed binding to the GTP form of Cdc42 and weaker binding with Rac, and again no interaction with Rho. These results indicate that proteins containing the CRIB motif bind to Cdc42 and/or Rac in a GTP-dependent manner, and they may, therefore, participate in downstream signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein, Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein, Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins