RhoA, RhoB and RhoC have different roles in cancer cell migration

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Rho GTPases are well known to regulate cell motility through activation of a variety of downstream effector proteins, including enzymes, adaptor proteins and actin nucleators. The three closely related Rho GTPases RhoA, RhoB and RhoC all have the potential to interact with the same downstream effectors, yet they have substantially different effects on cell shape and migratory properties. Here I review the different ways in which RhoA, RhoB and RhoC expression is regulated in cancer and how they play distinct roles in cancer progression. I describe their main effectors known to contribute to cell motility. Recent results from our laboratory and others indicate that RhoA, RhoB and RhoC can be activated by specific stimuli and act through different effectors to control distinct aspects of cancer cell migration and invasion. This suggests that they each make unique contributions to cancer by participating in different protein complexes.

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