A T50I substitution in the K-Ras interswitch domain causes Noonan syndrome and emerged as a third-site mutation that restored the in vivo transforming activity and constitutive MAPK pathway activation by an attenuated KrasG12D,E37G oncogene in a mouse leukemia model. Biochemical and crystallographic data suggested that K-RasT50I increases MAPK signal output through a non-GTPase mechanism, potentially by promoting asymmetric Ras:Ras interactions between T50 and E162. We generated a “switchable” system in which K-Ras mutant proteins expressed at physiologic levels supplant the fms like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) dependency of MOLM-13 leukemia cells lacking endogenous KRAS and used this system to interrogate single or compound G12D, T50I, D154Q, and E162L mutations. These studies support a key role for the asymmetric lateral assembly of K-Ras in a plasma membrane–distal orientation that promotes the formation of active Ras:Raf complexes in a membrane-proximal conformation. Disease-causing mutations such as T50I are a valuable starting point for illuminating normal Ras function, elucidating mechanisms of disease, and identifying potential therapeutic opportunities for Rasopathy disorders and cancer.
Pan-Yu Chen, Benjamin J. Huang, Max Harris, Christopher Boone, Weijie Wang, Heidi Carias, Brian Mesiona, Daniela Mavrici, Amanda C. Kohler, Gideon Bollag, Chao Zhang, Ying Zhang, Kevin Shannon