Ras GTPases are important regulators of pathways controlling proliferation, differentiation and transformation. Three ubiquitously expressed almost identical Ras genes are not functionally redundant; this has been attributed to their distinctive trafficking and localization profiles. A palmitoylation cycle controls the correct compartmentalization of H-Ras and N-Ras. We review recent data that reveal how this cycle can be regulated by membrane organization to influence the spatiotemporal signalling of Ras.

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