Issue 23, 2021

The Ras dimer structure


Oncogenic mutated Ras is a key player in cancer, but despite intense and expensive approaches its catalytic center seems undruggable. The Ras dimer interface is a possible alternative drug target. Dimerization at the membrane affects cell growth signal transduction. In vivo studies indicate that preventing dimerization of oncogenic mutated Ras inhibits uncontrolled cell growth. Conventional computational drug-screening approaches require a precise atomic dimer model as input to successfully access drug candidates. However, the proposed dimer structural models are controversial. Here, we provide a clear-cut experimentally validated N-Ras dimer structural model. We incorporated unnatural amino acids into Ras to enable the binding of labels at multiple positions via click chemistry. This labeling allowed the determination of multiple distances of the membrane-bound Ras-dimer measured by fluorescence and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. In combination with protein–protein docking and biomolecular simulations, we identified key residues for dimerization. Site-directed mutations of these residues prevent dimer formation in our experiments, proving our dimer model to be correct. The presented dimer structure enables computational drug-screening studies exploiting the Ras dimer interface as an alternative drug target.

Graphical abstract: The Ras dimer structure

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
17 Feb 2021
29 Apr 2021
First published
04 May 2021
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY-NC license

Chem. Sci., 2021,12, 8178-8189

The Ras dimer structure

T. Rudack, C. Teuber, M. Scherlo, J. Güldenhaupt, J. Schartner, M. Lübben, J. Klare, K. Gerwert and C. Kötting, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 8178 DOI: 10.1039/D1SC00957E

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications, without requesting further permission from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given and it is not used for commercial purposes.

To request permission to reproduce material from this article in a commercial publication, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party commercial publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity