LZTR1 facilitates polyubiquitination and degradation of RAS-GTPases

Cell Death Differ. 2020 Mar;27(3):1023-1035. doi: 10.1038/s41418-019-0395-5. Epub 2019 Jul 23.


Leucine zipper-like transcriptional regulator 1 (LZTR1) encodes a member of the BTB-Kelch superfamily, which interacts with the Cullin3 (CUL3)-based E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. Mutations in LZTR1 have been identified in glioblastoma, schwannomatosis, and Noonan syndrome. However, the functional role of LZTR1 in carcinogenesis or human development is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that LZTR1 facilitates the polyubiquitination and degradation of RAS via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, leading to the inhibition of the RAS/MAPK signaling. The polyubiquitination and degradation of RAS was also observed in cells expressing MRAS, HRAS, NRAS, and KRAS as well as oncogenic RAS mutants and inhibited the activation of ERK1/2 and cell growth. In vivo ubiquitination assays showed that MRAS-K127 and HRAS-K170 were ubiquitinated by LZTR1 and that the polyubiquitinated-chains contained mainly Ub-K48, K63, and K33-linked chains, suggesting its possible involvement in autophagy. Immunoprecipitation analyses showed the interaction of LZTR1 and RAS-GTPases with autophagy-related proteins, including LC3B and SQSTM1/p62. Co-expression of LZTR1 and RAS increased the expression of lipidated form of LC3B. However, long-term treatment with chloroquine had little effect on RAS protein levels, suggesting that the contribution of autophagy to LZTR1-mediated RAS degradation is minimal. Taken together, these results show that LZTR1 functions as a "RAS killer protein" mainly via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway regardless of the type of RAS GTPase, controlling downstream signal transduction. Our results also suggest a possible association of LZTR1 and RAS-GTPases with the autophagy. These findings provide clues for the elucidation of the mechanisms of RAS degradation and regulation of the RAS/MAPK signaling cascade.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy
  • Base Sequence
  • Cullin Proteins / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Polyubiquitin / metabolism*
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Proteolysis*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitination*
  • ras Proteins / metabolism*


  • Cullin Proteins
  • LZTR1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Polyubiquitin
  • ras Proteins
  • Lysine