Since the initial characterization of the first member of the Ras association domain family (RASSF5/Nore1A) of proteins, 10 related genes have been characterized with different chromosomal locations (RASSF1 to RASSF10). Some of the family members are involved in pathways that regulate cell cycle control (RASSF1, 2, and 7), Ras signaling (RASSF1, and 2 - 6), apoptosis (RASSF1, 2 - 6), immune cell function (RASSF1A, RASSF5B/Nore1B and RASSF6) and microtubule stability (RASSF1, 5, and 7). For some members of this gene family, genetic silencing occurs in numerous cancers such that there is no expression of the gene and no compensatory increase in expression of other isoforms. As a result, loss of function of some of the RASSF family member results in uncontrolled growth and tumor formation. The prototypical member of this gene family, RASSF1A, is one of the more frequently methylated genes silenced in numerous human cancers. RASSF1A epigenetic silencing correlates well with silencing of important pro-death regulators, such as caspase 8 and death associated protein kinase (DAPK), and the loss of RASSF1A expression is thought to be one of the earliest genetic changes in breast cancer. These observations suggest an important role for RASSF1A (and possibly other members of this gene family) in modulating growth control and in tumor surveillance.

The aims of these conferences are to (1) bring together internationally recognized scientists and clinicians investigating the role played by a tumor suppressor gene family silenced in human cancers; (2) to discuss ideas and share scientific knowledge; (3) to provide a forum for young scientists in the field an opportunity to interact with experienced researchers; (4) to advance our knowledge of the field and stimulate collaborative ventures that will accelerate our ability to understand cancer and other aspects of biology modulated by the RASSF family of proteins.


(1)     Dammann, R., U. Schagdarsurengin, C. Seidel, M. Strunnikova, M. Rastetter, K. Baier, and G. P. Pfeifer. The tumor suppressor RASSF1A in human carcinogenesis: an update. Histol Histopathol 20: 645 - 63 (2005). PDF(980 KB)

(2)     Gordon, M. and Baksh, S. RASSF1A: Not a prototypical Ras effector. Extra Views Review for Small GTPases, 2 (3):148-157 (2011). PDF(670 KB)

(3)     Richter AM, Pfeifer GP, Dammann RH. The RASSF proteins in cancer; from epigenetic silencing to functional characterization. Biochim Biophys Acta. (2009). PDF(628 KB)

(4)     Avruch J, Xavier R, Bardeesy N, Zhang XF, Praskova M, Zhou D, Xia F. 2009. Rassf family of tumor suppressor polypeptides. J Biol Chem. 284(17):11001-11005 (2009). PDF(256 KB)

(5)     Fausti,  F,  Di Agostino, S,  Sacconi, A, Strano, S and Blandino, G. Hippo and Rassf1a Pathways: A Growing Affair, Molecular Biology International Review (2012). PDF(1.2 MB)

(6)     Del Re, D. P. and Sadoshima, J. RASSF1A Signaling in the Heart: Novel Functions beyond Tumor Suppression, Molecular Biology International Review (2012). PDF(570 KB)

(7)    Sherwood, V., Recino, A.,  Jeffries, A., Ward, A. and Chalmers, A. D. The N-terminal RASSF family: a new group of Ras association-domain containing proteins, with emerging links to cancer formation, Biochem. J., 425, 303–311 (2010). PDF (245 KB)