Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Ras Oncogene

Oncogene that functions normally as a switch, relaying signals from hormones, e.g. at cell surface receptors, into the interior of the cell, causing cell growth. In cases where ras is mutated, this switch can be permanently on, and cell growth occurs even in the absence of receptor activation. The various autosomal dominant forms of ras proteins (KRAS, HRAS, and NRAS) are involved in about 30% of all cases of tumorigenesis. About ten alleles have been well characterized in terms of specific varieties of cancer. Aka ras p21 protein activator.

Cf. p53 tumor suppressor protein.

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