Activation of RET as a dominant transforming gene by germline mutations of MEN2A and MEN2B

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Science  20 Jan 1995:
Vol. 267, Issue 5196, pp. 381-383
DOI: 10.1126/science.7824936


Multiple endocrine neoplasia types 2A and 2B (MEN2A and MEN2B) and familial medullary thyroid carcinoma are dominantly inherited cancer syndromes. All three syndromes are associated with mutations in RET, which encodes a receptor-like tyrosine kinase. The altered RET alleles were shown to be transforming genes in NIH 3T3 cells as a consequence of constitutive activation of the RET kinase. The MEN2A mutation resulted in RET dimerization at steady state, whereas the MEN2B mutation altered RET catalytic properties both quantitatively and qualitatively. Oncogenic conversion of RET in these neoplastic syndromes establishes germline transmission of dominant transforming genes in human cancer.

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