Distinct turnover of alternatively spliced isoforms of the RET kinase receptor mediated by differential recruitment of the Cbl ubiquitin ligase

J Biol Chem. 2005 Apr 8;280(14):13442-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M500507200. Epub 2005 Jan 27.


Alternative splicing of transcripts encoding the RET kinase receptor leads to isoforms differing in their cytoplasmic tail. Although in vitro studies have demonstrated a higher transforming activity of the long RET isoform (RET51), only the short isoform (RET9) can rescue the effects of a RET null mutation in the enteric nervous system and kidney development. The molecular basis underlying the distinct functions of the two RET isoforms is not understood. Here we demonstrated that activated RET51 associated more strongly with the ubiquitin ligase Cbl than did RET9, leading to increased ubiquitylation and faster turnover of RET51. The association of Cbl with RET was indirect and was mediated through Grb2. A constitutive complex of Grb2 and Cbl could be recruited to both receptor isoforms via docking of Shc to phosphorylated Tyr-1062 in RET. A mutant Shc protein unable to recruit the Grb2.Cbl complex decreased the turnover and prolonged the half-life of RET9, thus ascribing a previously unknown negative role to the Shc adaptor molecule. In addition, phosphorylation of Tyr-1096, which is present in RET51 but absent in RET9, endowed the longer isoform with a second route to recruit the Grb2.Cbl complex. These findings establish a mechanism for the differential down-regulation of RET9 and RET51 signaling that could explain the apparently paradoxical activities of these two RET isoforms. More generally, these results illustrate how alternative splicing can regulate the half-life and function of a growth factor receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Stability
  • GRB2 Adaptor Protein
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • GRB2 Adaptor Protein
  • GRB2 protein, human
  • Isoenzymes
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • SHC1 protein, human
  • Shc Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Src Homology 2 Domain-Containing, Transforming Protein 1
  • Ubiquitin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-cbl
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • RET protein, human
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases