Published on Tue Jun 29 2021

HPLC Method to Resolve, Identify and Quantify Guanine Nucleotides Bound to the GTPase Ras

Hannan, J. P., Swisher, G. H., Martyr, J. G., Cordaro, N. J., Erbse, A. H., Falke, J. J.

The Ras superfamily of small G proteins play central roles in diverse signaling pathways. Superfamily members act as molecular on-off switches defined by their occupancy with GTP or GDP. In vitro functional studies require loading with a hydrolysis-resistant GTP analogue.

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Abstract

The Ras superfamily of small G proteins play central roles in diverse signaling pathways. Superfamily members act as molecular on-off switches defined by their occupancy with GTP or GDP, respectively. In vitro functional studies require loading with a hydrolysis-resistant GTP analogue to increase the on-state lifetime, as well as knowledge of fractional loading with activating and inactivating nucleotides. The present study describes a method combining elements of previous approaches with new, optimized features to analyze the bound nucleotide composition of a G protein loaded with activating (GMPPNP) or inactivating (GDP) nucleotide. After nucleotide loading, the complex is washed to remove unbound nucleotides then bound nucleotides are heat-extracted and subjected to ion-paired, reverse-phase HPLC-UV to resolve, identify and quantify the individual nucleotide components. These data enable back-calculation to the nucleotide composition and fractional activation of the original, washed G protein population prior to heat extraction. The method is highly reproducible. Application to multiple HRas preparations and mutants confirms its ability to fully extract and analyze bound nucleotides, and to resolve the fractional on- and off-state populations. Furthermore, the findings yield a novel hypothesis for the molecular disease mechanism of Ras mutations at the E63 and Y64 positions.