Phosphorylation Weakens but Does Not Inhibit Membrane Binding and Clustering of K-Ras4B

Academic Article


  • © 2017 American Chemical Society. K-Ras4B is one of the most frequently mutated Ras isoforms in cancer. The signaling activity of K-Ras4B depends on its localization to the plasma membrane (PM), which is mainly mediated by its polybasic farnesylated C-terminus. On top of the constitutive cycles that maintain the PM enrichment of K-Ras4B, conditional phosphorylation at Ser181 located within this motif has been found to be involved in regulating K-Ras4B's cell distribution and signaling activity. However, discordant observations have undermined our understanding of the role this phosphorylation plays. Here, we report an efficient strategy for producing K-Ras4B simultaneously bearing phosphate, farnesyl, and methyl modifications on a preparative scale, a very useful in vitro system when used in concert with model biomembranes. By using this system, we determined that phosphorylation at Ser181 does not fully inhibit membrane binding and clustering of K-Ras4B but reduces its membrane binding affinity, depending on membrane fluidity. In addition, phosphorylated K-Ras4B maintains tight association with its cytosolic shuttle protein PDEδ. After delivering K-Ras4B containing nonhydrolyzable phosphoserine mimetic into cells, the protein displayed a decreasing PM distribution compared with nonphosphorylable K-Ras4B, implying that phosphorylation might facilitate the dissociation of K-Ras4B from the PM. In addition, phosphorylation does not alter the localization of K-Ras4B in the liquid-disordered lipid subdomains of the membrane but slightly alters the thermotropic properties of K-Ras4B-incorporated membranes probably due to minor differences in membrane partitioning and dynamics. These results provide novel mechanistic insights into the role that phosphorylation at Ser181 plays in regulating K-Ras4B's distribution and activity.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Zhang SY; Sperlich B; Li FY; Al-Ayoubi S; Chen HX; Zhao YF; Li YM; Weise K; Winter R; Chen YX
  • Start Page

  • 1703
  • End Page

  • 1710
  • Volume

  • 12
  • Issue

  • 6