Insights into K-Ras 4B regulation by post-translational lysine acetylation

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Ras is a molecular switch cycling between an active, GTP-bound and an inactive, GDP-bound state. Mutations in Ras, mostly affecting the off-switch, are found in many human tumours. Recently, it has been shown that K-Ras 4B is targeted by lysine acetylation at K104. Based on results obtained for an acetylation mimetic Ras mutant (K104Q), it was hypothesised that K104-acetylation might interfere with its oncogenicity by impairing SOS-catalysed guanine-nucleotide exchange. We prepared site-specifically K104-acetylated K-Ras 4B and the corresponding oncogenic mutant protein G12V using the genetic-code expansion concept. We found that SOS-catalysed nucleotide exchange, also of allosterically activated SOS, was neither affected by acetylation of K104 in wildtype K-Ras 4B nor in the G12V mutant, suggesting that glutamine is a poor mimetic for acetylation at this site. In vitro, the lysine-acetyltransferases CBP and p300 were able to acetylate both, wildtype and G12V K-Ras 4B. In addition to K104 we identified further acetylation sites in K-Ras 4B, including K147, within the important G5/SAK-motif. However, the intrinsic and the SOS-catalysed nucleotide exchange was not affected by K147-acetylation of K-Ras 4B. Finally, we show that Sirt2 and HDAC6 do neither deacetylate K-Ras 4B if acetylated at K104 nor if acetylated at K147 in vitro.

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