Dominant Noonan syndrome-causing LZTR1 mutations specifically affect the Kelch domain substrate-recognition surface and enhance RAS-MAPK signaling

Hum Mol Genet. 2019 Mar 15;28(6):1007-1022. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy412.


Noonan syndrome (NS), the most common RASopathy, is caused by mutations affecting signaling through RAS and the MAPK cascade. Recently, genome scanning has discovered novel genes implicated in NS, whose function in RAS-MAPK signaling remains obscure, suggesting the existence of unrecognized circuits contributing to signal modulation in this pathway. Among these genes, leucine zipper-like transcriptional regulator 1 (LZTR1) encodes a functionally poorly characterized member of the BTB/POZ protein superfamily. Two classes of germline LZTR1 mutations underlie dominant and recessive forms of NS, while constitutional monoallelic, mostly inactivating, mutations in the same gene cause schwannomatosis, a cancer-prone disorder clinically distinct from NS. Here we show that dominant NS-causing LZTR1 mutations do not affect significantly protein stability and subcellular localization. We provide the first evidence that these mutations, but not the missense changes occurring as biallelic mutations in recessive NS, enhance stimulus-dependent RAS-MAPK signaling, which is triggered, at least in part, by an increased RAS protein pool. Moreover, we document that dominant NS-causing mutations do not perturb binding of LZTR1 to CUL3, a scaffold coordinating the assembly of a multimeric complex catalyzing protein ubiquitination but are predicted to affect the surface of the Kelch domain mediating substrate binding to the complex. Collectively, our data suggest a model in which LZTR1 contributes to the ubiquitinationof protein(s) functioning as positive modulator(s) of the RAS-MAPK signaling pathway. In this model, LZTR1 mutations are predicted to variably impair binding of these substrates to the multi-component ligase complex and their efficient ubiquitination and degradation, resulting in MAPK signaling upregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cullin Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kelch Repeat*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation*
  • Noonan Syndrome / genetics*
  • Noonan Syndrome / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Stability
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • CUL3 protein, human
  • Cullin Proteins
  • LZTR1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • ras Proteins