Oncogenic mutant K-Ras is highly prevalent in multiple human tumors. Despite significant efforts to directly target Ras activity, no K-Ras-specific inhibitors have been developed and taken into the clinic. Since Ras proteins must be anchored to the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane (PM) for full biological activity, we devised a high-content screen to identify molecules with ability to displace K-Ras from the PM. Here we summarize the biochemistry and biology of three classes of compound identified by this screening method that inhibit K-Ras PM targeting: staurosporine and analogs, fendiline, and metformin. All three classes of compound significantly abrogate cell proliferation and Ras signaling in K-Ras-transformed cancer cells. Taken together, these studies provide an important proof of concept that blocking PM localization of K-Ras is a tractable therapeutic target.
Keywords: Fendiline; High-content screen; K-Ras; Localization inhibitors; Metformin; Phosphatidylserine; Plasma membrane; Ras GTPases; Staurosporine.
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