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What does KRAS stand for? 

What does KRAS mean? This page is about the various possible meanings of the acronym, abbreviation, shorthand or slang term: KRAS.

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Knowledge Representation for Autonomous Systems

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Key Responsibility Areas These

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KRAS is an oncogene that is mutated in ~ 90% of cancer types

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What does KRAS mean?

KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma virus) is a gene that provides instructions for making a protein called K-Ras, a part of the RAS/MAPK pathway. The protein relays signals from outside the cell to the cell's nucleus. These signals instruct the cell to grow and divide (proliferate) or to mature and take on specialized functions (differentiate). It is called KRAS because it was first identified as a viral oncogene in the Kirsten RAt Sarcoma virus. The oncogene identified was derived from a cellular genome, so KRAS, when found in a cellular genome, is called a proto-oncogene. The K-Ras protein is a GTPase, a class of enzymes which convert the nucleotide guanosine triphosphate (GTP) into guanosine diphosphate (GDP). In this way the K-Ras protein acts like a switch that is turned on and off by the GTP and GDP molecules. To transmit signals, it must be turned on by attaching (binding) to a molecule of GTP. The K-Ras protein is turned off (inactivated) when it converts the GTP to GDP. When the protein is bound to GDP, it does not relay signals to the nucleus. The gene product of KRAS, the K-Ras protein, was first found as a p21 GTPase. Like other members of the ras subfamily of GTPases, the K-Ras protein is an early player in many signal transduction pathways. K-Ras is usually tethered to cell membranes because of the presence of an isoprene group on its C-terminus. There are two protein products of the KRAS gene in mammalian cells that result from the use of alternative exon 4 (exon 4A and 4B respectively): K-Ras4A and K-Ras4B. These proteins have different structures in their C-terminal region and use different mechanisms to localize to cellular membranes, including the plasma membrane.

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