Aberrant signal transduction downstream of the Ras GTPase has a well-established role in tumorigenesis. Mutations that result in hyperactivation of Ras are responsible for a third of all human cancers. Hence, small molecule inhibitors of the Ras signal transduction cascade have been under intense focus as potential cancer treatments. In both invertebrate and mammalian models, emerging evidence has also implicated components of the Ras signaling pathway in aging and metabolic regulation. Here, I review the current evidence for Ras signaling in these newly discovered roles highlighting the interactions between the Ras pathway and other longevity assurance mechanisms. Defining the role of Ras signaling in maintaining age-related health may have important implications for the development of interventions that could not only increase lifespan but also delay the onset and/or progression of age-related functional decline.
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- Ras signaling