Structural determinants of Ras-Raf interaction analyzed in live cells

Tzvetanka Bondeva, András Balla, Péter Várnai, Tamas Balla

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The minimum structure of the Raf-1 serine/threonine kinase that recognizes active Ras was used to create a green fluorescent fusion protein (GFP) for monitoring Ras activation in live cells. In spite of its ability to bind activated Ras in vitro, the Ras binding domain (RBD) of Raf-1 (Raf-1[51-131]GFP) failed to detect Ras in Ras-transformed NIH 3T3 fibroblasts and required the addition of the cysteine-rich domain (CRD) (Raf-1[51-220]GFP) to show clear localization to plasma membrane ruffles. In normal NIH 3T3 cells, (Raf-1[51-220]GFP) showed minimal membrane localization that was enhanced after stimulation with platelet-derived growth factor or phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate. Mutations within either the RBD (R89L) or CRD (C168S) disrupted the membrane localization of (Raf-1[51-220]GFP), suggesting that both domains contribute to the recruitment of the fusion protein to Ras at the plasma membrane. The abilities of the various constructs to localize to the plasma membrane closely correlated with their inhibitory effects on mitogen-activated protein kinase kinasel and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation. Membrane localization of full-length Raf-1-GFP was less prominent than that of (Raf-1[51-220]GFP) in spite of its strong binding to RasV12 and potent activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase. These finding indicate that both RBD and CRD are necessary to recruit Raf-1 to active Ras at the plasma membrane, and that these domains are not fully exposed in the Raf-1 molecule. Visualization of activated Ras in live cells will help to better understand the dynamics of Ras activation under various physiological and pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2323-2333
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 12 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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