The Raf-1-MEK-MAPK pathway plays an important role in transducing extracellular growth factor signaling into altered nuclear transcription factor function. The benzoquinone ansamycin Geldanamycin (GA) specifically binds to the heat shock protein HSP90 and alters its complex with Raf-1. This leads to a decrease in Raf-1 levels and to disruption of the Raf-1-MEK-MAPK signaling pathway. The enhanced degradation of Raf-1 protein was prevented by inhibitors of the proteasome, while inhibition of lysosomal or other proteases was ineffective. Raf-1 that was protected from GA-induced degradation was of higher molecular weight and showed a laddering pattern consistent with its polyubiquitination. Unlike Raf-1 in untreated cells, the protein was insoluble in Triton X100- or NP40-based buffers. Signaling through this pathway was inhibited by GA, concomitant with loss of Raf-1 protein, but was restored if Raf-1 was protected from GA-induced degradation by proteasome inhibitors.