Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Switch protein also influences the cytoskeleton: Researchers in Bochum make a surprising discovery

JBC: Unexpected functions of Ras

The protein Ras is known as the switch for cell division when it is activated. Mutations in Ras and its interaction partners can thus lead to the development of cancer. Researchers in Bochum have now discovered another unexpected capability of Ras, namely that it, by interacting with another protein, controls the synthesis of the cytoskeleton responsible for the structure and stability of the cell.

Prof. Christian Herrmann’s team managed to demonstrate Ras-controlled synthesis of the cytoskeleton in a test tube. The scientists have reported their findings in the current edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Ras mutations often lead to cancer

The Ras molecule is a member of a family of proteins that has a number of important cell functions. The molecules are either in an active or in an inactive state and are thus regarded as molecular switches. In the “on” state, Ras can interact with a further family of proteins, the so-called effectors, which in turn can result in the triggering of basic processes within the cell, such as cell division. Mutations in Ras and its effectors are a common reason for the development of cancer. The interest in research into this protein is thus commensurately high. By now scientists all over the world have highly detailed knowledge of its mode of action.

Entirely new function of Ras identified

Biochemists from the Ruhr-University in Bochum have supplemented this data with a totally unexpected function. The research group under the auspices of Prof. Christian Herrmann (Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry) have published a report on the Ras effector NORE1A (Novel Ras Effector 1). The scientists were able to demonstrate that NORE1A, in contrast to the well-known effectors, is not required to control cell division, but involved in the synthesis of the cytoskeleton. The cytoskeleton, which is responsible for the structure and stability of the cell, is composed of the protein tubulin, amongst others. The tubulin molecules cluster as bases. They develop into nanotubes, i.e. microtubules, and give the cell an internal structure. The Ras effector NORE1A is involved at exactly this point, the so-called nucleation of tubulin. Prof. Herrmann pointed out that it is particularly surprising that this process can be directly regulated via the molecular switch Ras. The research group managed to simulate the reaction in a test tube. The addition of Ras impedes the synthesis of the cytoskeleton.

Experimentally difficult to access

The investigation of the NORE1A-induced tubulin nucleation was experimentally difficult to access. Prof. Hermann and his research group worked with experts from the National Institute for Medical Research in London and the University of Virginia. He emphasized, that this proof that Ras amazingly enough exerts a direct regulatory effect on the microtubule cytoskeleton, could never have been attained without this close international collaboration.


Christine Bee; Christian Herrmann, Anna Moshnikova; Andrei Khokhlatchev; Yulia Koryakina, Christopher D. Mellor; Justin E. Molloy; Benjamin Stieglitz: Growth and Tumor Suppressor NORE1A Is a Regulatory Node between Ras Signaling and Microtubule Nucleation. In: The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 285, Issue 21, 16258-16266, MAY 21, 2010, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.081562

Further Information

Prof. Christian Herrmann, Physical Chemistry I, Faculty for Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Ruhr University Bochum, 44780 Bochum, NC 6/76, Tel. 0234/32-24173, E-Mail:

Dr. Josef König | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark
28.10.2016 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis
28.10.2016 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Steering a fusion plasma toward stability

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Bioluminescent sensor causes brain cells to glow in the dark

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Activation of 2 genes linked to development of atherosclerosis

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>