Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor alpha-1 (GFR alpha 1) is highly selective for GDNF versus artemin

Biochemistry. 2005 Feb 22;44(7):2545-54. doi: 10.1021/bi049247p.


To clarify whether glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) receptor alpha-1 (GFRalpha1), the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked coreceptor for GDNF, is also a functional coreceptor for artemin (ART), we have studied receptor binding, signaling, and neuronal survival. In cell-free binding studies, GFRalpha1-Ig displayed strong preferential binding to GDNF, though in the presence of soluble RET, weak binding to ART could also be detected. However, using GFRalpha1-transfected NB41A3 cells, ART showed no detectable competition against the binding of (125)I-labeled GDNF. Moreover, ART failed to induce phosphorylation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and Akt in these cells and was >10(4)-fold less potent than GDNF in stimulating RET phosphorylation. When rat primary dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons were used, only the survival promoting activity of GDNF and not that of ART was blocked by an anti-GFRalpha1 antibody. These results indicate that although ART can interact weakly with soluble GFRalpha1 constructs under certain circumstances in vitro, in cell-based functional assays GFRalpha1 is at least 10 000-fold selective for GDNF over ART. The extremely high selectivity of GFRalpha1 for GDNF over ART and the low reactivity of ART for this receptor suggest that GFRalpha1 is not likely to be a functional coreceptor for ART in vivo.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Receptors
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / cytology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Solutions
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance
  • Transfection


  • Artn protein, rat
  • GDNF protein, human
  • GFRA1 protein, human
  • Gdnf protein, mouse
  • Gdnf protein, rat
  • Gfra1 protein, mouse
  • Gfra1 protein, rat
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Receptors
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Solutions
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ret protein, mouse
  • Ret protein, rat