Germline mutations of c-ret, encoding a receptor-type tyrosine kinase, were found to be associated with variants of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2A, MEN2B), and familial medullary thyroid carcinoma. NIH/3T3 stable transfectants expressing RET with a mutation of MEN2A (MEN2A/RET) or MEN2B (MEN2B/RET) gained a transformed morphology, formed colonies in soft agar, and formed tumors in nude mice. These results confirmed that both MEN2A/RET and MEN2B/RET exert dominant transforming activities in NIH/3T3 cells. However, in contrast to their clinical manifestation, transfectants expressing MEN2A/RET exhibited a higher tumorigenicity in nude mice than transfectants expressing MEN2B/RET may depend on the presence of its ligand and/or substrates that are absent in NIH/3T3 cells. No change in the cellular localization of the mutated RET proteins was observed compared to c-RET. Interestingly, ret activation in NIT/3T3 cells appeared to be associated with up-regulation of homologous gap-junctional intercellular communication and increased expression of a gap-junctional protein, connexin43.