The Ras superfamily of small G proteins is remarkable for both its diversity and physiological functions. One member, Rap1, has been implicated in a particularly wide range of biological processes, from cell proliferation and differentiation to cell adhesion. But the diversity of Rap1 has lead to contradictory reports of its effects. Originally identified as an antagonist of Ras-induced transformation, Rap1 can oppose other actions of Ras including regulation of cell growth and differentiation, integrin-dependent responses and synaptic plasticity. Furthermore, recent evidence confirms that Rap1, like Ras, can activate the MAP kinase cascade (ERK) in several cell types. These diverse functions of Rap1 underscore that the activation and action of Rap1 are regulated by complex factors that are cell-type specific.
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