Conformational Dynamics Allows Sampling of an “Active-like” State by Oncogenic K-Ras-GDP

Patrick Grudzien, Hyunbum Jang, Nicholas Leschinsky, Ruth Nussinov, Vadim Gaponenko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Mutations in K-Ras GTPase replacing Gly12 with either Asp or Val are common in cancer. These mutations decelerate intrinsic and catalyzed GTP hydrolysis, leading to accumulation of K-Ras-GTP in cells. Signaling cascades initiated by K-Ras-GTP promote cell proliferation, survival, and invasion. Despite functional differences between the most frequent G12D mutation and the most aggressive and chemotherapy resistant G12V mutation, their long-suspected distinct structural features remain elusive. Using NMR, X-ray structures, and computational methods, we found that oncogenic mutants of K-Ras4B, the predominant splice variant of K-Ras, exhibit distinct conformational dynamics when GDP-bound, visiting the “active-like” conformational state similar to the one observed in GTP-bound K-Ras. This behavior distinguishes G12V from wild type and G12D K-Ras4B-GDP. The likely reason is interactions between the aliphatic sidechain of V12 and the Switch II region of K-Ras4BG12V-GDP, which are distinct in K-Ras4BG12D-GDP. In the X-ray structures, crystal contacts reduce the dynamics of the sidechain at position 12 by stabilizing the Switch I region of the protein. This explains why structural differences between G12V and G12D K-Ras have yet not been reported. Together, our results suggest a previously unknown mechanism of K-Ras activation. This mechanism relies on conformational dynamics caused by specific oncogenic mutations in the GDP-bound state. Our findings also imply that the therapeutic strategies decreasing the level of K-Ras-GTP by interfering with nucleotide exchange or by expediting GTP hydrolysis may work differently in different oncogenic mutants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number167695
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Volume434
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • NMR
  • Ras
  • chemical shift
  • hydrolysis
  • oncogenic mutations

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