The RAS guanine nucleotide binding proteins activate multiple signalling events that regulate cell growth and differentiation. In quiescent fibroblasts, ectopic expression of activated H-RAS (H-RAS(V12), where V12 indicates valine-12) induces membrane ruffling, mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase activation, and stimulation of DNA synthesis. A mutant of activated H-RAS, H-RAS(V12C40) (where C40 indicates cysteine-40), was identified that was defective for MAP kinase activation and stimulation of DNA synthesis, but retained the ability to introduce membrane ruffling. Another mutant of activated H-RAS, H-RAS(V12S35) (where S35 indicates serine-35), which activates MAP kinase, was defective for stimulation of membrane ruffling and induction of DNA synthesis. Expression of both mutants resulted in a stimulation of DNA synthesis that was comparable to that of induced by H-RAS(V12). These results indicate that membrane ruffling and activation of MAP kinase represent distinct RAS effector pathways and that input from both pathways is required for the mitogenic activity of RAS.
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