Gem associates with Ezrin and acts via the Rho-GAP protein Gmip to down-regulate the Rho pathway.
Gem belongs to the Rad/Gem/Kir (RGK) subfamily of Ras-related GTPases, which also comprises Rem, Rem2 and Ges. The RGK family members Ges and Rem have been shown to produce endothelial cell sprouting and reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton upon overexpression. Here we show that high intracellular Gem levels promote profound changes in cell morphology and we investigate how this phenotype arises dynamically. We also show that this effect requires intact microtubules and microfilaments, and that Gem is associated with both cytoskeletal components. In order to investigate the mechanisms of Gem recruitment to the cytoskeleton, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen and identified a novel kinesin-like protein, termed KIF9, as a new Gem interacting partner. We further show that Gem and KIF9 interact by co-immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, Gem and KIF9 display identical patterns of gene expression in different tissues and developmental stages. The Gem- KIF9 interaction reported here is the first molecular link between RGK family members and the microtubule cytoskeleton.