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Reviewed May 2012
What is the official name of the KRAS gene?
The official name of this gene is “Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog.”
KRAS is the gene's official symbol. The KRAS gene is also known by other names, listed below.
Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.
What is the normal function of the KRAS gene?
The KRAS gene provides instructions for making a protein called K-Ras that is involved primarily in regulating cell division. As part of a signaling pathway known as 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 or to mature and take on specialized functions (differentiate). The K-Ras protein is a GTPase, which means it converts a molecule called GTP into another molecule called GDP. The K-Ras protein acts like a switch, and it is turned on and off by the GTP and GDP molecules. To transmit signals, the K-Ras protein 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 cell's nucleus.
The KRAS gene belongs to a class of genes known as oncogenes. When mutated, oncogenes have the potential to cause normal cells to become cancerous. The KRAS gene is in the Ras family of oncogenes, which also includes two other genes: HRAS and NRAS. The proteins produced from these three genes are GTPases. These proteins play important roles in cell division, cell differentiation, and the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis).
How are changes in the KRAS gene related to health conditions?
Genetics Home Reference provides information about these additional conditions, which are also associated with changes in the KRAS gene:
Where is the KRAS gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 12p12.1
Molecular Location on chromosome 12: base pairs 25,205,245 to 25,250,922
The KRAS gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 12 at position 12.1.
More precisely, the KRAS gene is located from base pair 25,205,245 to base pair 25,250,922 on chromosome 12.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about KRAS?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about KRAS helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for the KRAS gene or gene products?
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.
Where can I find general information about genes?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding KRAS?
acids ; acute ; acute myeloid leukemia ; amino acid ; apoptosis ; atypical ; autoimmune ; cancer ; cell ; cell division ; class ; colorectal ; critical region ; differentiation ; disability ; gene ; GTP ; inherited ; juvenile ; juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia ; leukemia ; macrocephaly ; molecule ; mutation ; myeloid ; nucleus ; oncogene ; pancreatic ; phenotype ; protein ; proto-oncogene ; RAS ; RAS oncogene ; sarcoma ; short stature ; signal transduction ; stature ; syndrome ; transduction
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (16 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.