skip to main content

Title: Raf promotes dimerization of the Ras G-domain with increased allosteric connections

Ras dimerization is critical for Raf activation. Here we show that the Ras binding domain of Raf (Raf-RBD) induces robust Ras dimerization at low surface densities on supported lipid bilayers and, to a lesser extent, in solution as observed by size exclusion chromatography and confirmed by SAXS. Community network analysis based on molecular dynamics simulations shows robust allosteric connections linking the two Raf-RBD D113 residues located in the Galectin scaffold protein binding site of each Raf-RBD molecule and 85 Å apart on opposite ends of the dimer complex. Our results suggest that Raf-RBD binding and Ras dimerization are concerted events that lead to a high-affinity signaling complex at the membrane that we propose is an essential unit in the macromolecular assembly of higher order Ras/Raf/Galectin complexes important for signaling through the Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. e2015648118
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Dynamic allostery emphasizes a role of entropy change manifested as a sole change in protein fluctuations without structural changes. This kind of entropy-driven effect remains largely understudied. The most significant examples involve protein-ligand interactions, leaving protein-protein interactions, which are critical in signaling and other cellular events, largely unexplored. Here we study an example of how protein-protein interaction (binding of Ras to the Ras binding domain [RBD] of the effector protein Raf) affects a subsequent protein association process (Ras dimerization) by quenching Ras internal motions through dynamic allostery. We also investigate the influence of point mutations or ambient temperature, respectively, onmore »the protein dynamics and interaction of two other systems: in adenylate kinase (ADK) and in the EphA2 SAM:Ship2 SAM complex. Based on these examples, we postulate that there are different ways in which dynamic-change-driven protein interactions are manifested and that it is likely a general biological phenomenon.« less
  2. The small GTPase KRAS is localized at the plasma membrane where it functions as a molecular switch, coupling extracellular growth factor stimulation to intracellular signaling networks. In this process, KRAS recruits effectors, such as RAF kinase, to the plasma membrane where they are activated by a series of complex molecular steps. Defining the membrane-bound state of KRAS is fundamental to understanding the activation of RAF kinase and in evaluating novel therapeutic opportunities for the inhibition of oncogenic KRAS-mediated signaling. We combined multiple biophysical measurements and computational methodologies to generate a consensus model for authentically processed, membrane-anchored KRAS. In contrast tomore »the two membrane-proximal conformations previously reported, we identify a third significantly populated state using a combination of neutron reflectivity, fast photochemical oxidation of proteins (FPOP), and NMR. In this highly populated state, which we refer to as “membrane-distal” and estimate to comprise ∼90% of the ensemble, the G-domain does not directly contact the membrane but is tethered via its C-terminal hypervariable region and carboxymethylated farnesyl moiety, as shown by FPOP. Subsequent interaction of the RAF1 RAS binding domain with KRAS does not significantly change G-domain configurations on the membrane but affects their relative populations. Overall, our results are consistent with a directional fly-casting mechanism for KRAS, in which the membrane-distal state of the G-domain can effectively recruit RAF kinase from the cytoplasm for activation at the membrane.

    « less
  3. Mutations in the GTPase enzyme K-Ras, specifically at codon G12, remain the most common genetic alterations in human cancers. The mechanisms governing activation of downstream signaling pathways and how they relate back to the identity of the mutation have yet to be completely defined. Here we use native mass spectrometry (MS) combined with ultraviolet photodissociation (UVPD) to investigate the impact of three G12X mutations (G12C, G12V, G12S) on the homodimerization of K-Ras as well as heterodimerization with a downstream effector protein, Raf. Electrospray ionization (ESI) was used to transfer complexes of WT or G12X K-Ras bound to guanosine 5′-diphosphate (GDP)more »or GppNHp (non-hydrolyzable analogue of GTP) into the gas phase. Relative abundances of homo- or hetero-dimer complexes were estimated from ESI-MS spectra. K-Ras + Raf heterocomplexes were activated with UVPD to probe structural changes responsible for observed differences in the amount of heterocomplex formed for each variant. Holo (ligand-bound) fragment ions resulting from photodissociation suggest the G12X mutants bind Raf along the expected effector binding region (β-interface) but may interact with Raf via an alternative α-interface as well. Variations in backbone cleavage efficiencies during UV photoactivation of each variant were used to relate mutation identity to structural changes that might impact downstream signaling. Specifically, oncogenic upregulation for hydrogen-bonding amino acid substitutions (G12C, G12S) is achieved by stabilizing β-interface interactions with Raf, while a bulkier, hydrophobic G12V substitution leads to destabilization of this interface and instead increases the proximity of residues along the α-helical bundles. This study deciphers new pieces of the complex puzzle of how different K-Ras mutations exert influence in downstream signaling.« less
  4. Activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) at the cell surface initiates signaling through the RAS-RAF-MAPK/ERK1/2 pathway and receptor endocytosis. Whether this signaling continues from endosomes remains unclear, because RAS is predominantly located on the plasma membrane, and the localization of endogenous RAF kinases, downstream effectors of RAS, is not defined. To examine RAF localization, we labeled endogenous RAF1 with mVenus using gene editing. From 10 to 15% of RAF1-mVenus (<2000 molecules/cell), which was initially entirely cytosolic, transiently translocated to the plasma membrane after EGF stimulation. Following an early burst of translocation, the membrane-associated RAF1-mVenus was undetectable bymore »microscopy or subcellular fractionation, and this pool was estimated to be <200 molecules per cell. In contrast, persistent EGF-dependent translocation of RAF1-mVenus to the plasma membrane was driven by the RAF inhibitor sorafenib, which increases the affinity of Ras-GTP:RAF1 interactions. RAF1-mVenus was not found in EGFR-containing endosomes under any conditions. Computational modeling of RAF1 dynamics revealed that RAF1 membrane abundance is controlled most prominently by association and dissociation rates from RAS-GTP and by RAS-GTP concentration. The model further suggested that the relatively protracted activation of the RAF-MEK1/2-ERK1/2 module, in comparison with RAF1 membrane localization, may involve multiple rounds of cytosolic RAF1 rebinding to active RAS at the membrane.« less
  5. Pseudokinases are thought to lack phosphotransfer activity due to altered canonical catalytic residues within their kinase domain. However, a subset of pseudokinases maintain activity through atypical phosphotransfer mechanisms. The Arabidopsis ILK1 is a pseudokinase from the Raf-like MAP3K family and is the only known plant pseudokinase with confirmed protein kinase activity. ILK1 activity promotes disease resistance and molecular pattern-induced root growth inhibition through its stabilization of the HAK5 potassium transporter with the calmodulin-like protein CML9. ILK1 also has a kinase-independent function in salt stress suggesting that it interacts with additional proteins. We determined that members of the ILK subfamily aremore »the sole pseudokinases within the Raf-like MAP3K family and identified 179 novel putative ILK1 protein interactors. We also identified 70 novel peptide targets for ILK1, the majority of which were phosphorylated in the presence of Mn 2+ instead of Mg 2+ in line with modifications in ILK1’s DFG cofactor binding domain. Overall, the ILK1-targeted or interacting proteins included diverse protein types including transporters (HAK5, STP1), protein kinases (MEKK1, MEKK3), and a cytokinin receptor (AHK2). The expression of 31 genes encoding putative ILK1-interacting or phosphorylated proteins, including AHK2, were altered in the root and shoot in response to molecular patterns suggesting a role for these genes in immunity. We describe a potential role for ILK1 interactors in the context of cation-dependent immune signaling, highlighting the importance of K + in MAMP responses. This work further supports the notion that ILK1 is an atypical kinase with an unusual cofactor dependence that may interact with multiple proteins in the cell.« less