Comparative analysis of the role of small G proteins in cell migration and cell death: Cytoprotective and promigratory effects of RalA

Hyejin Jeon, Long Tai Zheng, Shinrye Lee, Won Ha Lee, Nammi Park, Jae-Yong Park, Won Do Heo, Myung Shik Lee, Kyoungho Suk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Small G protein superfamily consists of more than 150 members, and is classified into six families: the Ras, Rho, Rab, Arf, Ran, and RGK families. They regulate a wide variety of cell functions such as cell proliferation/differentiation, cytoskeletal reorganization, vesicle trafficking, nucleocytoplasmic transport and microtubule organization. The small G proteins have also been shown to regulate cell death/survival and cell shape. In this study, we compared the role of representative members of the six families of small G proteins in cell migration and cell death/survival, two cellular phenotypes that are associated with inflammation, tumorigenesis, and metastasis. Our results show that small G proteins of the six families differentially regulate cell death and cell cycle distribution. In particular, our results indicate that Rho family of small G proteins is antiapoptotic. Ras, Rho, and Ran families promoted cell migration. There was no significant correlation between the cell death- and cell migration-regulating activities of the small G proteins. Nevertheless, RalA was not only cytoprotective against multiple chemotherapeutic drugs, but also promigratory inducing stress fiber formation, which was accompanied by the activation of Akt and Erk pathways. Our study provides a framework for further systematic investigation of small G proteins in the perspectives of cell death/survival and motility in inflammation and cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2007-2018
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes



  • Apoptosis
  • Cell death
  • Cell migration
  • RalA
  • Small G protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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