Structure-function relationship of the GTP-exchange factor smgGDS and its role in breast cancer

Ras proteins act as molecular switches that control functions including growth and movement of all cells. They also play a role in causing almost one-third of human cancers. Several families of proteins, including smgGDS, regulate Ras activity. Genetic changes leading to the production of an abnormal form of smgGDS are a characteristic of certain leukeumias. As well, too much smgGDS in cells leads to their transformation into cancer cells. Dr. Peter Schubert is determining the detailed structure of smgGDS and identifying parts of the protein that activate Ras proteins. The research should provide basic information necessary for designing drugs to block the action of smgGDS in leukemia.