Constitutive activation of oncogenic PDGFRα-mutant proteins occurring in GIST patients induces receptor mislocalisation and alters PDGFRα signalling characteristics

Cell Commun Signal. 2015 Mar 31:13:21. doi: 10.1186/s12964-015-0096-8.


Background: Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST) are mainly characterised by the presence of activating mutations in either of the two receptor tyrosine kinases c-KIT or platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFRα). Most mechanistic studies dealing with GIST mutations have focused on c-KIT and far less is known about the signalling characteristics of the mutated PDGFRα proteins. Here, we study the signalling capacities and corresponding transcriptional responses of the different PDGFRα proteins under comparable genomic conditions.

Results: We demonstrate that the constitutive signalling via the oncogenic PDGFRα mutants favours a mislocalisation of the receptors and that this modifies the signalling characteristics of the mutated receptors. We show that signalling via the oncogenic PDGFRα mutants is not solely characterised by a constitutive activation of the conventional PDGFRα signalling pathways. In contrast to wild-type PDGFRα signal transduction, the activation of STAT factors (STAT1, STAT3 and STAT5) is an integral part of signalling mediated via mutated PDGF-receptors. Furthermore, this unconventional STAT activation by mutated PDGFRα is already initiated in the endoplasmic reticulum whereas the conventional signalling pathways rather require cell surface expression of the receptor. Finally, we demonstrate that the activation of STAT factors also translates into a biologic response as highlighted by the induction of STAT target genes.

Conclusion: We show that the overall oncogenic response is the result of different signatures emanating from different cellular compartments. Furthermore, STAT mediated responses are an integral part of mutated PDGFRα signalling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / genetics
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / pathology
  • Enzyme Activation / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / genetics
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha / metabolism*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / genetics
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Receptor, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor alpha