Rit subfamily small GTPases: Regulators in neuronal differentiation and survival

Geng Xian Shi, Weikang Cai, Douglas A. Andres

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Ras family small GTPases serve as binary molecular switches to regulate a broad array of cellular signaling cascades, playing essential roles in a vast range of normal physiological processes, with dysregulation of numerous Ras-superfamily G-protein-dependent regulatory cascades underlying the development of human disease. However, the physiological function for many "orphan" Ras-related GTPases remain poorly characterized, including members of the Rit subfamily GTPases. Rit is the founding member of a novel branch of the Ras subfamily, sharing close homology with the neuronally expressed Rin and Drosophila Ric GTPases. Here, we highlight recent studies using transgenic and knockout animal models which have begun to elucidate the physiological roles for the Rit subfamily, including emerging roles in the regulation of neuronal morphology and cellular survival signaling, and discuss new genetic data implicating Rit and Rin signaling in disorders such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, autism, and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2060-2068
Number of pages9
JournalCellular Signalling
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We apologize to the scientists whose work was not cited due to space constraints. Research by the authors was supported by Public Health Service Grant NS045103 from the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS) (DAA) , 2P20 RR020171 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) (DAA) , KSCHIRT 12-1A from the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust (DAA) , and the University of Kentucky 2012–2013 Research Professorship (DAA) . The content of this article is the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.


  • MAPK
  • Neuron
  • Ras GTPase
  • Rin
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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