Activating MRAS mutations cause Noonan syndrome associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Hum Mol Genet. 2020 Jul 21;29(11):1772-1783. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddz108.


The RASopathies are a group of genetic syndromes caused by upregulated RAS signaling. Noonan syndrome (NS), the most common entity among the RASopathies, is characterized mainly by short stature, cardiac anomalies and distinctive facial features. Mutations in multiple RAS-MAPK pathway-related genes have been associated with NS and related phenotypes. We describe two unrelated patients presenting with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dysmorphic features suggestive of NS. One of them died in the neonatal period because of cardiac failure. Targeted sequencing revealed de novo MRAS variants, c.203C > T (p.Thr68Ile) and c.67G > C (p.Gly23Arg) as causative events. MRAS has only recently been related to NS based on the observation of two unrelated affected individuals with de novo variants involving the same codons here found mutated. Gly23 and Thr68 are highly conserved residues, and the corresponding codons are known hotspots for RASopathy-associated mutations in other RAS proteins. Functional analyses documented high level of activation of MRAS mutants due to impaired GTPase activity, which was associated with constitutive plasma membrane targeting, prolonged localization in non-raft microdomains, enhanced binding to PPP1CB and SHOC2 protein, and variably increased MAPK and PI3K-AKT activation. This report provides additional evidence that a narrow spectrum of activating mutations in MRAS represents another rare cause of NS, and that MRAS has to be counted among the RASopathy genes predisposing to HCM. Moreover, our findings further emphasize the relevance of the MRAS-SHOC2-PPP1CB axis in the control of MAPK signaling, and the contribution of both MAPK and PI3K-AKT pathways in MRAS functional upregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / complications
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / genetics*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gain of Function Mutation / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / genetics
  • Male
  • Noonan Syndrome / complications
  • Noonan Syndrome / genetics*
  • Noonan Syndrome / pathology
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / genetics*
  • ras Proteins / genetics*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • MRAS protein, human
  • SHOC2 protein, human
  • PPP1CB protein, human
  • Protein Phosphatase 1
  • ras Proteins