Rho GTPases are implicated in a multitude of cellular processes regulated by membrane receptors, such as cytoskeletal rearrangements, gene transcription and cell growth and motility. Activation of these GTPases is under the direct control of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs), the Dbl family proteins. By searching protein databases we have identified a novel Rho-GEF, termed p114-Rho-GEF, which similarly to other Rho-GEFs contains a Dbl homology domain followed by a pleckstrin homology domain. p114-Rho-GEF interacted specifically with RhoA, in its nucleotide-free and guanosine 5′-[γ-thio]triphosphate-bound states, but not with Rac1 and Cdc42, and efficiently catalysed guanine nucleotide exchange of RhoA. Consistent with these results in vitro was our finding that the overexpression of p114-Rho-GEF in J82 and HEK-293 cells induced the formation of actin stress fibres and stimulated serum-response-factor-mediated gene transcription in a Rho-dependent manner. Rho-mediated transcriptional activation induced by M3 muscarinic acetylcholine and lysophosphatidic acid receptors was enhanced by p114-Rho-GEF, suggesting that the activity of this novel Rho-GEF, which is widely expressed in human tissues, can be controlled by G-protein-coupled receptors.

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