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Science. 1993 Feb 5;259(5096):806-9.

Probing the structure and mechanism of Ras protein with an expanded genetic code.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Mutations in Ras protein at positions Gly12 and Gly13 (phosphate-binding loop L1) and at positions Ala59, Gly60, and Gln61 (loop L4) are commonly associated with oncogenic activation. The structural and catalytic roles of these residues were probed with a series of unnatural amino acids that have unusual main chain conformations, hydrogen bonding abilities, and steric features. The properties of wild-type and transforming Ras proteins previously thought to be uniquely associated with the structure of a single amino acid at these positions were retained by mutants that contained a variety of unnatural amino acids. This expanded set of functional mutants provides new insight into the role of loop L4 residues in switch function and suggests that loop L1 may participate in the activation of Ras protein by effector molecules.

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