The structure of neurofibromin isoform 2 reveals different functional states

Andreas Naschberger, Rozbeh Baradaran, Bernhard Rupp, Marta Carroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The autosomal dominant monogenetic disease neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) affects approximately one in 3,000 individuals and is caused by mutations in the NF1 tumour suppressor gene, leading to dysfunction in the protein neurofibromin (Nf1)1,2. As a GTPase-activating protein, a key function of Nf1 is repression of the Ras oncogene signalling cascade. We determined the human Nf1 dimer structure at an overall resolution of 3.3 Å. The cryo-electron microscopy structure reveals domain organization and structural details of the Nf1 exon 23a splicing3 isoform 2 in a closed, self-inhibited, Zn-stabilized state and an open state. In the closed conformation, HEAT/ARM core domains shield the GTPase-activating protein-related domain (GRD) so that Ras binding is sterically inhibited. In a distinctly different, open conformation of one protomer, a large-scale movement of the GRD occurs, which is necessary to access Ras, whereas Sec14-PH reorients to allow interaction with the cellular membrane4. Zn incubation of Nf1 leads to reduced Ras-GAP activity with both protomers in the self-inhibited, closed conformation stabilized by a Zn binding site between the N-HEAT/ARM domain and the GRD–Sec14-PH linker. The transition between closed, self-inhibited states of Nf1 and open states provides guidance for targeted studies deciphering the complex molecular mechanism behind the widespread neurofibromatosis syndrome and Nf1 dysfunction in carcinogenesis.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-319
Number of pages5
Issue number7884
StatePublished - Nov 11 2021
Externally publishedYes

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Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-02-15

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