Volume 14 (2017) Pages 75-84
RalGDS is one of the Ras effectors and functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the small G-protein, Ral, which regulates membrane trafficking and cytoskeletal remodeling. The translocation of RalGDS from the cytoplasm to the plasma membrane is required for Ral activation. In this study, to understand the mechanism of Ras–Ral signaling we performed a single-molecule fluorescence analysis of RalGDS and its functional domains (RBD and REMCDC) on the plasma membranes of living HeLa cells. Increased molecular density of RalGDS and RBD, but not REMCDC, was observed on the plasma membrane after EGF stimulation of the cells to induce Ras activation, suggesting that the translocation of RalGDS involves an interaction between the GTP-bound active form of Ras and the RBD of RalGDS. Whereas the RBD played an important role in increasing the association rate constant between RalGDS and the plasma membrane, the REMCDC domain affected the dissociation rate constant from the membrane, which decreased after Ras activation or the hyperexpression of Ral. The Y64 residue of Ras and clusters of RalGDS molecules were involved in this reduction. From these findings, we infer that Ras activation not merely increases the cell-surface density of RalGDS, but actively stimulates the RalGDS–Ral interaction through a structural change in RalGDS and/or the accumulation of Ral, as well as the GTP–Ras/RalGDS clusters, to induce the full activation of Ral.