The Adenosine diphosphate-Ribosylation Factor (ARF) family belongs to the RAS superfamily of small GTPases and is involved in a wide variety of physiological processes, such as cell proliferation, motility and differentiation by regulating membrane traffic and associating with the cytoskeleton. Like other members of the RAS superfamily, ARF family proteins are activated by Guanine nucleotide Exchange Factors (GEFs) and inactivated by GTPase-Activating Proteins (GAPs). When active, they bind effectors, which mediate downstream functions. Several studies have reported that cancer cells are able to subvert membrane traffic regulators to enhance migration and invasion. Indeed, members of the ARF family, including ARF-Like (ARL) proteins have been implicated in tumorigenesis and progression of several types of cancer. Here, we review the role of ARF family members, their GEFs/GAPs and effectors in tumorigenesis and cancer progression, highlighting the ones that can have a pro-oncogenic behavior or function as tumor suppressors. Moreover, we propose possible mechanisms and approaches to target these proteins, toward the development of novel therapeutic strategies to impair tumor progression.
- GTPase-activating protein
- guanine nucleotide exchange factor
- membrane traffic