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PLoS One. 2016 Dec 9;11(12):e0167145. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0167145. eCollection 2016.

The RAS-Effector Interface: Isoform-Specific Differences in the Effector Binding Regions.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II, Medical Faculty of the Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.


RAS effectors specifically interact with the GTP-bound form of RAS in response to extracellular signals and link them to downstream signaling pathways. The molecular nature of effector interaction by RAS is well-studied but yet still incompletely understood in a comprehensive and systematic way. Here, structure-function relationships in the interaction between different RAS proteins and various effectors were investigated in detail by combining our in vitro data with in silico data. Equilibrium dissociation constants were determined for the binding of HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, RRAS1 and RRAS2 to both the RAS binding (RB) domain of CRAF and PI3Kα, and the RAS association (RA) domain of RASSF5, RALGDS and PLCε, respectively, using fluorescence polarization. An interaction matrix, constructed on the basis of available crystal structures, allowed identification of hotspots as critical determinants for RAS-effector interaction. New insights provided by this study are the dissection of the identified hotspots in five distinct regions (R1 to R5) in spite of high sequence variability not only between, but also within, RB/RA domain-containing effectors proteins. Finally, we propose that intermolecular β-sheet interaction in R1 is a central recognition region while R3 may determine specific contacts of RAS versus RRAS isoforms with effectors.

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Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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