Isolation of two novel ras genes in Dictyostelium discoideum; evidence for a complex, developmentally regulated ras gene subfamily.
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In Dictyostelium discoideum, three ras genes (rasD, rasG and rasB) and one ras-related gene (rap1) have been previously isolated and characterized, and the deduced amino acid sequence of their predicted protein products share at least 50% sequence identity with the human H-Ras protein. We have now cloned and characterized two additional members of the ras gene subfamily in Dictyostelium, rasC and rasS. These genes are developmentally regulated and unlike the previously isolated Dictyostelium ras genes, maximum levels of their transcripts were detected during aggregation, suggesting that the encoded proteins have distinct functions during aggregation. The rasC cDNA encodes a 189 amino acid protein that is 65% identical to the Dictyostelium RasD and RasG proteins and 56% identical to the human H-Ras protein. The predicted 194 amino acid gene product encoded by rasS is 60% identical to the Dictyostelium RasD and RasG proteins and 54% identical to the human H-Ras protein. Whereas RasD, RasG, RasB and Rap1 are totally conserved in their putative effector domains relative to H-Ras, RasC and RasS have single amino acid substitutions in their effector domains, consistent with the idea that they have unique functions. In RasC, aspartic acid-38 has been replaced by asparagine (D38N), and in RasS, isoleucine-36 has been replaced by leucine (I36L). In addition, both proteins have several differences in the effector-proximal domain, a domain which is believed to play a role in Ras target activation. In RasC, there is a single conservative amino acid change in the canonical sequence of the binding site for the Ras-specific monoclonal antibody Y13-259, and consequently, RasC is less immunoreactive with the antibody than either of the Dictyostelium RasD or RasG proteins. In contrast, RasS, which has three substitutions in the Y13-259 binding site, does not react with the Y13-259 antibody.
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