RAS binding is a critical step in the activation of BRAF protein serine/threonine kinase and stimulation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway. Mutations in both RAS and BRAF are associated with many human cancers. Here, we report the solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray crystal structures of the RAS-binding domain (RBD) from human BRAF. We further studied the complex between BRAF RBD and the GppNHp bound form of HRAS in solution. Backbone, side-chain, and (19)F NMR chemical shift perturbations reveal unexpected changes distal to the RAS-binding face that extend through the core of the RBD structure. Moreover, backbone amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange NMR data demonstrate conformational ensemble changes in the RBD core structure upon complex formation. These changes in BRAF RBD reveal a basis for allosteric regulation of BRAF structure and function, and suggest a mechanism by which RAS binding can signal the drastic domain rearrangements required for activation of BRAF kinase.
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