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neu Protooncogene Fused to an Immunoglobulin Heavy Chain Gene Requires Immunoglobulin Light Chain for Cell Surface Expression and Oncogenic Transformation
John G. Flanagan and Philip Leder
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 85, No. 21 (Nov. 1, 1988), pp. 8057-8061
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/32568
Page Count: 5
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The protein encoded by the neu protooncogene (human gene symbol NGL for neuro/glioblastoma-derived) is a member of the surface receptor/tyrosine kinase family. Though its structure suggests that it can transduce a transmembrane signal, neither its extracellular ligand nor its critical intracellular substrates are known. To explore the functional properties of the protein encoded by neu, we created a fusion gene that joins the cytoplasmic domain of neu to the extracellular portion of an immunoglobulin heavy chain. The localization of the fusion polypeptide can then be controlled by coexpression with immunoglobulin light chain. In the absence of light chain, the heavy chain-neu polypeptide is expressed intracellularly and has no transforming activity. By contrast, in the presence of light chain the fusion polypeptide is expressed at the cell surface and produces tumorigenic foci. Thus, transformation apparently requires expression at the cell surface, where the neu intracellular domain can interact with components that are localized to the plasma membrane. The fusion protein is active in cellular transformation when the transmembrane domain is derived either from neu or from immunoglobulin, indicating that the neu transmembrane domain is not specifically required for transformation, although neu activation in tumors is known to result from a point mutation in this region. The extracellular immunoglobulin heavy and light chain domains of the fusion protein form a functional binding site that allows antigen to modulate its activity, reversing the transforming effect.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 1988 National Academy of Sciences