The multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B point mutation switches the specificity of the Ret tyrosine kinase towards cellular substrates that are susceptible to interact with Crk and Nck

Oncogene. 1997 Nov 6;15(19):2257-65. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1201413.


The RET proto-oncogene encodes a Tyrosine Kinase Receptor (RTK) which plays an important function in the proliferation and/or differentiation of neuroectodermic cells. Germline mutation of a methionine to a threonine within the RET TK domain predisposes to the Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2B (MEN 2B). It has been demonstrated that, unlike c-Ret, the MEN 2B mutated Ret displays constitutive TK activity, tyrosine autophosphorylation and transforms fibroblasts. However, this oncoprotein is more than a fully activated wild-type (WT) Ret TK since it also displays modified substrate specificity. Change in substrate specificity leads to the tyrosine autophosphorylation of MEN 2B Ret on new sites as well as the phosphorylation of several novel downstream targets. But, none of these substrates have been identified and the ability of MEN 2B Ret phosphoprotein to interact with Src Homology 2 (SH2) domain containing molecules has been poorly investigated. In this report, using a constitutively activated Ret TK form, Ret-ptc 2, we demonstrate that the MEN 2B as the activated WT Ret TK binds to several SH2 signalling proteins such as Shc, Grb-2, Phospholipase Cgamma, Crk and Nck. However, in contrast to the activated WT form, expression of the MEN 2B mutated Ret-ptc 2 results in the tyrosine phosphorylation of a panel of proteins which interestingly interact with Crk and Nck. We identified Paxillin, a cytoskeletal protein as one of the Crk associated proteins that is dramatically phosphorylated in MEN 2B but not in WT Ret expressing cells. These data suggest that MEN 2B mutated Ret triggers distinct signalling pathways that might be related to its transforming power.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Animals
  • COS Cells
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2a / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Paxillin
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Point Mutation*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-crk
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • src Homology Domains


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nck protein
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Paxillin
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-crk
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ret protein, Drosophila