This review addresses the issue of the numerous roles played by Rap1 GTPase (guanosine triphosphatase) in different cell types, in terms of both physiology and pathology. It is one among a myriad of small G proteins with endogenous GTP-hydrolyzing activity that is considerably stimulated by posttranslational modifications (geranylgeranylation) or guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), and inhibited by GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Rap1 is a ubiquitous protein that plays an essential role in the control of metabolic processes, such as signal transduction from plasma membrane receptors, cytoskeleton rearrangements necessary for cell division, intracellular and substratum adhesion, as well as cell motility, which is needed for extravasation or fusion. We present several examples of how Rap1 affects cells and organs, pointing to possible molecular manipulations that could have application in the therapy of several diseases.
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