Rac1 Pull-down Activation Assay Biochem Kit (bead pull-down format) - 50 Assays

Rac1 Activation Assay Biochem Kit (bead pull-down format) - 50 Assays

Product Uses Include

  • Analysis of in vivo Rac1 activation levels.
  • Detection of compounds and proteins that enhance Rac1 activity
  • Detection of compounds and proteins that inhibit Rac1 activity

The Rho switch operates by alternating between an active, GTP-bound state and an inactive, GDP-bound state.  Understanding the mechanisms that regulate activation / inactivation of the GTPases is of obvious biological significance and is a subject of intense investigation.  The fact that many Rho family effector proteins will specifically recognize the GTP bound form of the protein has been exploited experimentally to develop a powerful affinity purification assay that monitors Rac and Cdc42 protein activation.  The assay uses the Cdc42/Rac Interactive Binding (CRIB) region (also called the p21 Binding Domain, PBD) of the Cdc42 / Rac effector protein, p21 activated kinase 1 (PAK).  The CRIB/PBD protein motif has been shown to bind specifically to the GTP-bound form of Rac and/or Cdc42 proteins.  The fact that the PBD region of PAK has a high affinity for both GTP-Rac and GTP-Cdc42 and that PAK binding results in a significantly reduced intrinsic and catalytic rate of hydrolysis of both Rac and Cdc42 make it an ideal tool for affinity purification of GTP-Rac and GTP-Cdc42 from cell lysates.  The PAK-PBD protein supplied in this kit corresponds to residues 67-150.  This includes the highly conserved CRIB region (aa 74-88) plus sequences required for the high affinity interaction with GTP-Rac and GTP-Cdc42.  The PAK-PBD is in the form of a GST fusion protein, which allows one to "pull-down" the PAK-PBD/GTP-Rac (or GTP-Cdc42) complex with glutathione affinity beads.  The assay therefore provides a simple means of quantitating Rac or Cdc42 activation in cells.  The amount of activated Rac is determined by a Western blot using a Rac-specific antibody.

Kit contents
The kit contains sufficient materials for 50 assays, depending on assay setup, and includes reagents for positive and negative controls. The following components are included:

  1. GST-tagged PAK-PBD protein on colored agarose beads (Cat. # PAK02)
  2. Rac1 monoclonal antibody (Cat. # ARC03)
  3. His-tagged Rac1 protein (Cat. # RC01)
  4. GTPγS: (non-hydrolyzable GTP analog) (Cat. # BS01)
  5. GDP
  6. Cell lysis Buffer
  7. Wash Buffer
  8. Loading Buffer
  9. STOP Buffer
  10. Protease inhibitor cocktail (Cat. # PIC02)
  11. Manual with detailed protocols and extensive troubleshooting guide

Figure 1.  The brightly colored glutathione agarose beads in BK035 makes the kit easy to use.

Equipment needed

  1. SDS-PAGE minigel system and western blotting transfer apparatus

Example results
The Rac1 activation assay was tested by loading the Rac1 protein in cell lysates with either GTPγS or GDP. As expected, the GTPγS-loaded Rac1 is very efficiently precipitated while very little GDP-loaded Rac1 is precipitated (Fig. 2).


Figure 2. Results from BK035 Rac1 activation assay. Activated Rac1 was precipitated and detected in a Western blot using kit BK035. The first lane shows a 50 ng recombinant His-tagged Rac1 standard (Recombinant His-Rac1). The following lanes shows the pull-down of inactive, GDP-loaded Rac1 (Rac1-GDP PD) or active, GTPγS-loaded Rac1 (Rac1-GTP PD) from equal amounts of cell lysates.

Please check out the new version of the Rac Activation Assay and associated products:

G-LISA Products:
Cdc42 G-LISA™ Activation Assay, colorimetric format (Cat.# BK127)
Rac1 G-LISA™ Activation Assay, luminescence format (Cat.# BK126)
Rac1,2,3 G-LISA™ Activation Assay, colorimetric format (Cat.# BK125)
RhoA G-LISA™ Activation Assay, colorimetric format (Cat.# BK124)
RhoA G-LISA™ Activation Assay, luminescence format (Cat.# BK121)

Associated Products:
Anti-Cdc42 monoclonal antibody (Cat.# ACD03)
Anti-Rac1 monoclonal antibody (Cat.# ARC03)
Anti-RhoA monoclonal antibody (Cat.# ARH03)

For product Datasheets and MSDSs please click on the PDF links below.   For additional information, click on the FAQs tab above or contact our Technical Support department at tservice@cytoskeleton.com

Shin, S. K. et al. Exogenous 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine ameliorates liver fibrosis through the inhibition of Rac1-NADPH oxidase signaling. J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 35, 1078–1087 (2020).

Benz, P. M. et al. AKAP12 deficiency impairs VEGF-induced endothelial cell migration and sprouting. Acta Physiol. 228, (2020).

Thamilselvan, T. et al. P-Rex1 Mediates Glucose-Stimulated Rac1 Activation and Insulin Secretion in Pancreatic β-Cells. Cell. Physiol. Biochem. 54, 1218–1230 (2020).

Yu, Q. et al. A NAV2729-sensitive mechanism promotes adrenergic smooth muscle contraction and growth of stromal cells in the human prostate. J. Biol. Chem. 294, 12231–12248 (2019).

Borin, M. et al. Rac1 activation links tau hyperphosphorylation and Aß dysmetabolism in Alzheimer’s disease. Acta Neuropathol. Commun. 6, 1–17 (2018).

Lee et al., 2012. Barrier protective effects of withaferin A in HMGB1-induced inflammatory responses in both cellular and animal models. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. v 262, pp 91-98.

Nithipatikom et al., 2012. Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 (CB1) Activation Inhibits Small GTPase RhoA Activity and Regulates Motility of Prostate Carcinoma Cells. Endocrinology. v 153, pp 29-41.

Wong et al., 2012. Merlin/NF2 Regulates Angiogenesis in Schwannomas through a Rac1/Semaphorin 3F-Dependent Mechanism. Neoplasia. v 14, pp 84–94.

Jayaram et al., 2011. Isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase facilitates glucose-induced Rac1 activation, ROS generation and insulin secretion in INS 832/13 β-cells. Islets. v 3, pp 48-57.

Skalski et al., 2011. SNARE-mediated membrane traffic is required for focal adhesion kinase signaling and Src-regulated focal adhesion turnover. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Mol. Cell Res. v 1813, pp 148-158.

Ock et al., 2011. A novel approach for stress-induced gastritis based on paradoxical anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory action of exogenous 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine. Biochem. Pharmacol. v 81, pp 111-122.

Slice et al., 2005. Angiotensin II and epidermal growth factor induce cyclooxygenase-2 expression in intestinal epithelial cells through small GTPases using distinct signaling pathways. J. Biol. Chem. v 280, pp 1582-1593.

Sasai et al., 2004. The neurotrophin-receptor-related protein NRH1 is essential for convergent extension movements. Nat. Cell Biol. v 6, pp 741-748.

Yang et al., 2004. Rho and Rho-kinase mediate thrombin-induced phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinase trafficking in platelets. J. Biol. Chem. v 279, pp 42331-42336.

Zhang et al., 2004. Distinct roles of two structurally closely related focal adhesion proteins, α-parvins and β-parvins, in regulation of cell morphology and survival. J. Biol. Chem. v 279, pp 41695-41705.

Chromy et al., 2003. Self-assembly of Aβ(1-42) into globular neurotoxins. Biochemistry. v 42, pp 12749-12760.

Quadri et al., 2003. Endothelial barrier strengthening by activation of focal adhesion kinase. J. Biol. Chem. v 278, pp 13342-13349.


Question 1: I have high background and/or multiple bands on my western blot.  How can I fix this?

Answer 1:  There are multiple causes of high background and/or multiple bands.  Some suggestions to improve background signal include:

  1. When blotting use 70v for 45min only as the small G-proteins are very mobile.
  2. Fully remove SDS from the gel by using a non-SDS containing buffer for transfer and performing a full 15 min gel wash step in the transfer buffer before blotting.
  3. Dry the PVDF membrane for 30 min after transfer and before blocking (not necessary for nitrocellulose)
  4. Making sure that the TBST contains 10 mM Tris, 0.05% Tween 20 and 150 mM NaCl.
  5. Incubating with the primary antibody overnight at 4°C and using the appropriate ECL detection system.  


Question 2: How much of the beads should I use for my pull-down experiments?

Answer 2:  PAK-PBD-GST beads (Cat. # PAK02) will bind to Rac1-GDP with a much lower affinity than Rac1-GTP.  If too many PAK-PBD beads are added to the pull-down assay, there will be significant binding to inactive (GDP-bound) Rac1.  The result of this will be an underestimation of Rac1 activation.  For this reason, we highly recommend performing a bead titration to determine optimal conditions for any given Rac1 activation or inactivation assay.  Once optimal conditions have been established, bead titrations should no longer be necessary.  We recommend 10, 15 and 20 μg bead titrations.


Question 3:  How can I test whether the beads are working properly?

Answer 3:  A standard biological assay for PAK-PBD GST protein beads consists of a Rac protein pull-down from cells loaded with either GTPγS (Cat. # BS01) or GDP.  Here are guidelines to follow (see Cat. # PAK02 and BK035 datasheets for more details):


Positive Cellular Protein Control:

Total cell lysate (300 – 800 μg) should be loaded with GTPγS as a positive control for the pull-down assay.  The following reaction details how to load endogenous Rac1 with the nonhydrolysable GTP analog (GTPγS).  This is an excellent substrate for PAK-PBD beads and should result in a strong positive signal in a pull-down assay.


a) Perform GTP loading on 300 – 800 μg of cell lysate (0.5 mg/ml protein concentration) by adding 1/10th volume of Loading Buffer.

b) Immediately add 1/100th volume of GTPγS (200 μM final concentration). Under these conditions 5 - 10% of the Rac1 protein will load with non-hydrolysable GTPγS and will be “pulled-down” with the PAK-PBD beads in the assay.

c) Incubate the control sample at 30°C for 15 min with gentle rotation.

d) Stop the reaction by transferring the tube to 4°C and adding 1/10th volume of STOP Buffer.

e) Use this sample immediately in a pull-down assay.


Negative Cellular Protein Control:

This reaction should be performed in an identical manner to the Positive Control reaction except that 1/100th volume of GDP (1 mM final concentration) should be added to the reaction in place of the GTPγS.  Loading endogenous Rac1 with GDP will inactivate Rac1 and this complex will bind very poorly to PAK-PBD beads.



If you have any questions concerning this product, please contact our Technical Service department at tservice@cytoskeleton.com