The Rho family small GTPases of the Ras superfamily play key roles in regulating diverse signaling pathways that control a myriad of fundamental cellular processes such as cytoskeletal dynamics, cell cycle progression, gene expression, cell polarity, migration and cell transformation. The Rho GTPases cycle between an active GTP-bound and an inactive GDP-bound form, which is controlled by many regulators including GEFs, GAPs and GDIs. Recent studies have revealed a new layer of regulation for Rho GTPases, indicating that several members of the Rho family of small GTPases including RhoA, Rac1, and RhoBTB, as well as the Ras family member Rap1B, are also regulated by the ubiquitinproteasome pathway, which plays important roles in controlling cell polarity, migration, cell transformation and actin dynamics. Importantly, regulators for Rho GTP-GDP cycling such as RhoGDI and Rho-GEF ECT2 were also found to be modulated by the ubiquitin pathway. In this review, we focus on how ubiquitin signaling guides the fate and function of Rho GTPases and their regulators, especially how the E3 ubiquitin ligase Smurf1 regulates cell polarity and motility through targeting RhoA for ubiquitination and degradation.
Keywords: Rho GTPase, Ubiquitination, E3 ubiquitin ligase, GTP-hydrolyzing activities, ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, oligopeptide fragments, catalytic mechanism, Rac1 degradation, pathogenic bacteria, poly-ubiquitinated, hippocampal neurons, epithelial cells, metazoan organisms, ectopic axial structure
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