The context dependence of Ras biology
Ras GTPases are important hubs in a key cellular communication pathway that regulates the rate at which cells divide and proliferate. Mutations of components of this pathway are found in the almost all cancers and specific mutations of Ras are present in 30% of human cancer cases. Cells express three closely related isoforms of Ras called HRAS, KRAS and NRAS. Despite their similarity they have different biological functions and one isoform: KRAS is the most frequently mutated in human cancers. My lab is characterizing the differences between these isoforms and investigating the mechanisms responsible for isoform-specific signalling. Intriguingly, we also find that different activating mutations specify different endogenous KRAS outputs.
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