Activation of a small GTP-binding protein by nucleoside diphosphate kinase

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Science  08 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5033, pp. 850-853
DOI: 10.1126/science.1658935


Genes that encode nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDKs) have been implicated as regulators of mammalian tumor metastasis and development in Drosophila melanogaster. However, the cellular pathways through which NDKs function are not known. One potential mechanism of regulation is phosphorylation of guanosine diphosphate (GDP) bound to regulatory guanosine triphosphate (GTP) binding proteins. NDK-catalyzed phosphorylation of bound GDP was investigated for the adenosine diphosphate ribosylation factor (ARF), a 21-kilodalton GTP-binding protein that functions in the protein secretion pathway. Bovine liver NDK, recombinant human NDK, and the protein product of the mouse gene nm23-1, which suppresses the metastatic potential of certain tumor cells, used ARF-GDP as a substrate, thereby allowing rapid and efficient production of activated ARF (ARF-GTP) in the absence of nucleotide exchange. These data are consistent with the proposed function of NDK as an activator of a small GTP-binding protein and provide a mechanism of activation for a regulatory GTP-binding protein that is independent of nucleotide exchange.