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Accession IconSRP189905

Mutations in RABL3 Alter KRAS Prenylation and are Associated with Hereditary Pancreatic Cancer

Organism Icon Danio rerio
Sample Icon 7 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge IconIllumina HiSeq 2000

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Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer with limited treatment options. Familial predisposition to PDAC occurs in ~10% of cases, but causative genes have not been identified in most families. Uncovering the genetic basis for PDAC susceptibility has immediate prognostic implications for families and can provide mechanistic clues to PDAC pathogenesis. Here, we perform whole-genome sequence analysis in a family with multiple cases of PDAC and identify a germline nonsense mutation in the member of RAS oncogene family-like 3 (RABL3) gene never before directly associated with hereditary cancer. The truncated mutant allele (RABL3_p.S36*) co-segregates with cancer occurrence. To evaluate the contribution of the RABL3 mutant allele in hereditary cancer, we generated rabl3 heterozygous mutant zebrafish and found increased susceptibility to cancer formation in two independent cancer models. Unbiased approaches implicate RABL3 in RAS pathway regulation: the transcriptome of juvenile rabl3 mutants reveals a KRAS upregulation signature, and affinity-purification mass spectrometry for proteins associated with RABL3 or RABL3_p.S36* identifies Rap1 GTPase-GDP Dissociation Stimulator 1 (RAP1GDS1, SmgGDS), a chaperone that regulates prenylation of RAS GTPases. Indeed, we find that RABL3_p.S36* accelerates KRAS prenylation and requires RAS proteins to promote cell proliferation. Furthermore, rabl3 homozygous mutant zebrafish develop severe craniofacial, skeletal, and growth defects consistent with human RASopathies, and these defects are partially rescued with the MEK inhibitor trametinib. Finally, we identify additional germline mutations in RABL3 that impact RAS activity in vivo and have a significant burden in a cohort of patients with developmental disorders, suggesting a role in undiagnosed RASopathies. Moreover, RABL3 is upregulated in multiple human PDAC cell lines and knockdown abrogates proliferation, consistent with a broader role for RABL3 in PDAC. Our studies identify the RABL3 mutation as a new target for genetic testing in cancer families and uncover a novel mechanism for dysregulated RAS activity in development and cancer. Overall design: WT (4 replicates) and homozygous rabl3-TR41 mutant (3 replicates) larval zebrafish at 21 days of age.
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