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Methods Mol Biol. 2010;661:433-47. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60761-795-2_27.

Mutational and functional analysis in human Ras/MAP kinase genetic syndromes.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Medical Genetics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.


The Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is essential in regulation of the cell cycle, cell differentiation, growth, and cell senescence, each of which are critical to normal development. A class of developmental disorders, the "RASopathies," is caused by germline mutations in genes that encode protein components of the Ras/MAPK pathway which result in dysregulation of the pathway and profound deleterious effects on development. One of these syndromes, cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome, is caused by germline mutations in BRAF, MAP2K1 (MEK1) and MAP2K2 (MEK2), and possibly KRAS genes. Here, we describe the laboratory protocols and methods that we used to identify mutations in BRAF and MEK1/2 genes as causative for CFC syndrome. In addition, we present the techniques used to determine the effect these mutations have on activity of the Ras/MAPK pathway through Western blot analysis of the phosphorylation of endogenous ERK1/2, as well as through the use of an in vitro kinase assay that measures the phosphorylation of Elk-1.

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