Molecular genetics. 1. The Ras protein is a member of a large familiy of GTP-binding proteins involved in intracellular signal pathways. It is a transmembrane protein and plays a role in normal growth, differentiation and development. Mutant ras proteins are in a permanently activated state and give the cell the signal to proliferate thus becoming a cancerous cell. Mutant ras proteins are associated with many types of human cancer.
2. The ras gene encodes the Ras protein. Mutations in ras genes can permanently activate Ras proteins which can result in the incorrect propagation of intracellular signals. Disregulated Ras signaling can ultimately lead to tumor growth and metastasis.
Notation: ras (italics) refers to the gene, Ras (first letter capitalized) to the protein.