Expression of RET 3' splicing variants during human kidney development

Oncogene. 1998 Feb 26;16(8):991-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1201622.


The mature mammalian kidney arises through a series of reciprocal inductive interactions between two different cell groups, the ureteric bud epithelium and the metanephric mesenchyme. The RET receptor tyrosine kinase is required for induction and development of the metanephric kidney. Differential splicing at the 3' end of RET results in transcripts encoding three isoforms that differ with respect to their C-terminal 9 (RET9), 51 (RET51) or 43 (RET43) amino acids. In vitro assays have identified differences in the abilities of the RET9 and RET51 isoforms to induce differentiation suggesting functional differences between these proteins. We examined the relative expression levels of the three RET 3' splicing variants in developing human kidney using semi-quantitative RT-PCR. We observed consistent expression of the RET9 and RET43 variants in kidney samples spanning 7.5 through 24 weeks gestation. At early gestational ages (7.5-8.5 weeks), RET51 expression was very low (+/-5%) compared to RET9; however, a rapid seven fold increase in expression was detected by 9 weeks. Our data suggest that RET51 may contribute to differentiation-related events occurring after 8.5 weeks gestation rather than to induction of the human kidney.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Humans
  • Isomerism
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ret protein, Drosophila