Fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) are receptor tyrosine kinases encoded by four closely related genes. FGFR 1, 2, and 3 have a number of isoforms derived by alternative splicing, alternative initiation and exon switching; however, FGFR4 has been reported to encode a single intact receptor with three extracellular immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domains, a transmembrane domain, and a split intracellular kinase. Here we describe a novel C-terminally truncated soluble isoform of FGFR4 expressed by human epithelial breast cancer MCF-7 cells. This isoform results from failure of splicing of intron 4 resulting in an mRNA species that encodes an in-frame premature stop codon. Cells transfected with the corresponding cDNA containing intron 4 express a truncated releasable protein that is identified in conditioned media. This soluble FGFR4 isoform (sFGFR4) abrogates the effect of FGF-1-induced MAPK phosphorylation and PRL gene activation. These findings represent the first description of an endogenous soluble C-terminally truncated FGFR4 isoform with FGF modulatory properties.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.