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GFRalpha1 expression in cells lacking RET is dispensable for organogenesis and nerve regeneration.

The GDNF family ligands signal through a receptor complex composed of a ligand binding subunit, GFRalpha, and a signaling subunit, the RET tyrosine kinase. GFRalphas are expressed not only in RET-expressing cells, but also in cells lacking RET. A body of evidence suggests that RET-independent GFRalphas are important for (1) modulation of RET signaling in a non-cell-autonomous fashion (trans-signaling) and (2) regulation of NCAM function. To address the physiological significance of these roles, we generated mice specifically lacking RET-independent GFRalpha1. These mice exhibited no deficits in regions where trans-signaling has been implicated in vitro, including enteric neurons, motor neurons, kidney, and regenerating nerves. Furthermore, no abnormalities were found in the olfactory bulb, which requires proper NCAM function for its formation and is putatively a site of GDNF-GFRalpha-NCAM signaling. Thus RET-independent GFRalpha1 is dispensable for organogenesis and nerve regeneration in vivo, indicating that trans-signaling and GFRalpha-dependent NCAM signaling play a minor role physiologically.

Pubmed ID: 15541311


  • Enomoto H
  • Hughes I
  • Golden J
  • Baloh RH
  • Yonemura S
  • Heuckeroth RO
  • Johnson EM
  • Milbrandt J



Publication Data

November 18, 2004

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: AG01373
  • Agency: NIA NIH HHS, Id: AG13729
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK57038
  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK64592

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System
  • Enteric Nervous System
  • Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor Receptors
  • Kidney
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Neurons
  • Muscle, Skeletal
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Olfactory Bulb
  • Organogenesis
  • Peripheral Nervous System
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ret
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases