Transforming activity of the c-ret proto-oncogene with multiple endocrine neoplasia (MEN) 2A mutations was investigated by transfection of NIH 3T3 cells. Mutant c-ret genes driven by the simian virus 40 or cytomegalovirus promoter induced transformation with high efficiencies. The 170-kDa Ret protein present on the cell surface of transformed cells was highly phosphorylated on tyrosine and formed disulfide-linked homodimers. This result indicated that MEN 2A mutations induced ligand-independent dimerization of the c-Ret protein on the cell surface, leading to activation of its intrinsic tyrosine kinase. In addition to the MEN 2A mutations, we further introduced a mutation (lysine for asparaginic acid at codon 300 [D300K]) in a putative Ca2+-binding site of the cadherin-like domain. When c-ret cDNA with both MEN 2A and D300K mutations was transfected into NIH 3T3 cells, transforming activity drastically decreased. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis revealed that very little of the 170-kDa Ret protein with the D300K mutation was expressed in transfectants while expression of the 150-kDa Ret protein retained in the endoplasmic reticulum was not affected. This result also demonstrated that transport of the Ret protein to the plasma membrane is required for its transforming activity.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology