Posted by: Dan | August 10, 2006

Galpha13 in RTK/Rac signaling

Science‘s Signal Transduction Knowledge Environment has an interesting perspectives piece titled: Transducing the Signals: A G Protein Takes a New Identity, focusing on a recent report that the G protein Ga13 is required for growth factor-induced cell migration, revealing a novel signaling event involving receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and Rac.

I won’t try to top Dhanasekaran’s dissection of this area – instead, I’ll remain content to quote his conclusion and offer a couple of question/comments:

Signaling initiated by GCPRs and RTKs may form a network that regulates distinct phases of cell movement through different signaling pathways operating in parallel with precise spatiotemporal coordination. Ga13 may serve a central role in this network, by mediating GPCR and RTK signals through its interactions with diverse signaling molecules with roles in cell migration, such as Ccd42, Rac, focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Rho-associated kinase (ROCK), ß-catenin, and radixin. Further investigation could identify the other signaling nodes in this network and their precise roles in Ga13-mediated cell migration.

First, from the signaling-perspective, it’s always nice to see a new piece of the puzzle fall into place, bringing us to better understanding of the important modes and nodes of the biochemical soup that somehow regulates cell behavior.

Second, this piece hints at the difficulties in this area of study: any given research project in this field has only the narrowest of views in a complex network, always contenting with the discovery of one novel protein or interaction. It is truly a monumental task, requiring untold numbers of graduate students (like me!) slaving away.

Ok, I’ll quit whining…


  • D. N. Dhanasekaran, Transducing the Signals: A G Protein Takes a New Identity. Sci. STKE 2006, pe31 (2006). Science STKE.
  • D. Shan, L. Chen, D. Wang, Y.-C. Tan, J. L. Gu, X. Y. Huang, The G protein G{alpha}13 is required for growth factor-induced cell migration. Dev. Cell 10, 707–718 (2006). Developmental Cell.


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