Research ArticleCell Biology

Ubiquitination of K-Ras Enhances Activation and Facilitates Binding to Select Downstream Effectors

Sci. Signal.  08 Mar 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 163, pp. ra13
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2001518

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The guanosine triphosphate (GTP)–loaded form of the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Ras initiates multiple signaling pathways by binding to various effectors, such as the kinase Raf and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). Ras activity is increased by guanine nucleotide exchange factors that stimulate guanosine diphosphate release and GTP loading and is inhibited by GTPase-activating proteins that stimulate GTP hydrolysis. KRAS is the most frequently mutated RAS gene in cancer. Here, we report that monoubiquitination of lysine-147 in the guanine nucleotide–binding motif of wild-type K-Ras could lead to enhanced GTP loading. Furthermore, ubiquitination increased the binding of the oncogenic Gly12Val mutant of K-Ras to the downstream effectors PI3K and Raf. Thus, monoubiquitination could enhance GTP loading on K-Ras and increase its affinity for specific downstream effectors, providing a previously unidentified mechanism for Ras activation.

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