RAC1B is an alternatively spliced isoform of the monomeric GTPase RAC1. It differs from RAC1 by a 19 amino acid in frame insertion, termed exon 3b, resulting in an accelerated GDP/GTP-exchange and an impaired GTP-hydrolysis. Although RAC1B has been ascribed several protumorigenic functions such as cell cycle progression and apoptosis resistance, its role in malignant transformation, and other functions driving tumor progression like epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration/invasion and metastasis are less clear. Insertion of exon 3b endows RAC1B with specific biochemical properties that, when compared to RAC1, encompass both loss-of-functions and gain-of-functions with respect to the type of upstream activators, downstream targets, and binding partners. In its extreme, this may result in RAC1B and RAC1 acting in an antagonistic fashion in regulating a specific cellular response with RAC1B behaving as an endogenous inhibitor of RAC1. In this review, we strive to provide the reader with a comprehensive overview, rather than critical discussions, on various aspects of RAC1B biology in eukaryotic cells.
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