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  • Writer's pictureDr Edin Hamzić

🧬 The Key Info You Need to Know About the NRAS Gene

Updated: Jan 8

ℹ️ What Does the NRAS Gene Encode? And Some Other Factoids

  • The NRAS stands for neuroblastoma RAS viral and RAS within that abbreviation stands for "Rat sarcoma virus".

  • The NRAS gene has been discovered by Christopher Marshall while working on human sarcoma cell lines. The NRAS gene is located on chromosome 1 and it is roughly 12,303 bp long.

  • The NRAS gene encodes a N-ras protein. The function of N-ras protein is to relay signals from outside the cell to the cell’s nucleus.

  • The N-ras protein is one of the key elements in the MAP (mitogen-activated pathway). The MAP pathway is involved in processing signals that are further important for cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation [citation].

🦀Is NRAS a Tumor Suppressor Gene or a Protooncogene?

  • The NRAS gene is not a tumor suppressor gene. The NRAS gene is actually a proto-oncogene, which means that in case of being mutated, it might cause normal cells to become cancerous.

🧬 The NRAS Gene and Mutations

  • In the case of the NRAS gene, the N-ras protein that is encoded by NRAS genes is involved in regulating cell division and therefore mutations in the NRAS gene have been associated with different types of cancers such as somatic rectal cancer, follicular thyroid cancer, autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome, Noonan syndrome and juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia [citation].

⚠️What Type of NRAS Gene Mutations Are There?

  • There are many NRAS mutations, many of which are associated with different types of cancers. Here, we will just list the top ones that therapies have targeted according to [MyCancerGenome], and those are:

    • NRAS Q61K

    • NRAS G12D

    • NRAS Q61L

    • NRAS Q61R

  • ⚠️Out of all different types of cancers, NRAS mutations are most commonly found in melanoma with NRAS mutations being found in 15% to 2% of melanomas [citation].

  • ⚠️ Also, the most common mutation in the NRAS gene (present in >80% of all NRAS mutations) that leads to the onset of cancer present is a point mutation leading to the substitution of glutamine to leucine at position 61, with mutations at positions 12 and 13 occurring with less frequency [citation].


The NRAS Gene and Melanoma?

  • ⚠️ Melanoma is one of the most common cutaneous cancers worldwide. Activating mutations in RAS oncogenes are found in a third of all human cancers, and NRAS mutations are found in 15%–20% of melanomas [citation]. Generally, the NRAS-mutant subset of melanoma is more aggressive and associated with poorer outcomes [citation].

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