KRAS4A directly regulates hexokinase 1.

Amendola CR, Mahaffey JP, Parker SJ, Ahearn IM, Chen WC, Zhou M, Court H, Shi J, Mendoza SL, Morten MJ, Rothenberg E, Gottlieb E, Wadghiri YZ, Possemato R, Hubbard SR, Balmain A, Kimmelman AC, Philips MR.


December 01, 2019

The most frequently mutated oncogene in cancer is KRAS, which uses alternative fourth exons to generate two gene products (KRAS4A and KRAS4B) that differ only in their C-terminal membrane-targeting region. Because oncogenic mutations occur in exons 2 or 3, two constitutively active KRAS proteins-each capable of transforming cells-are encoded when KRAS is activated by mutation. No functional distinctions among the splice variants have so far been established. Oncogenic KRAS alters the metabolism of tumour cells in several ways, including increased glucose uptake and glycolysis even in the presence of abundant oxygen (the Warburg effect). Whereas these metabolic effects of oncogenic KRAS have been explained by transcriptional upregulation of glucose transporters and glycolytic enzymes, it is not known whether there is direct regulation of metabolic enzymes. Here we report a direct, GTP-dependent interaction between KRAS4A and hexokinase 1 (HK1) that alters the activity of the kinase, and thereby establish that HK1 is an effector of KRAS4A. This interaction is unique to KRAS4A because the palmitoylation-depalmitoylation cycle of this RAS isoform enables colocalization with HK1 on the outer mitochondrial membrane. The expression of KRAS4A in cancer may drive unique metabolic vulnerabilities that can be exploited therapeutically.

Last updated: June 27, 2020