Nature communications

KRAS insertion mutations are oncogenic and exhibit distinct functional properties.

PMID 26854029


Oncogenic KRAS mutations introduce discrete amino acid substitutions that reduce intrinsic Ras GTPase activity and confer resistance to GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Here we discover a partial duplication of the switch 2 domain of K-Ras encoding a tandem repeat of amino acids G60_A66dup in a child with an atypical myeloproliferative neoplasm. K-Ras proteins containing this tandem duplication or a similar five amino acid E62_A66dup mutation identified in lung and colon cancers transform the growth of primary myeloid progenitors and of Ba/F3 cells. Recombinant K-Ras(G60_A66dup) and K-Ras(E62_A66dup) proteins display reduced intrinsic GTP hydrolysis rates, accumulate in the GTP-bound conformation and are resistant to GAP-mediated GTP hydrolysis. Remarkably, K-Ras proteins with switch 2 insertions are impaired for PI3 kinase binding and Akt activation, and are hypersensitive to MEK inhibition. These studies illuminate a new class of oncogenic KRAS mutations and reveal unexpected plasticity in oncogenic Ras proteins that has diagnostic and therapeutic implications.