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Definition: A protein that initiates a cascade of reactions leading to cell division when a growth factor is bound to the cell surface. The gene encoding Ras becomes an oncogene when a mutation produces a form of Ras protein that initiates the cascade even in the absence of the growth factor.
Source: Hickman, C.P., et al. 2011. Integrated Principles of Zoology. Fifteenth Edition. McGraw-Hill Higher Education.