Mutation and deletion analysis of GFRα-1, encoding the co-receptor for the GDNF/RET complex, in human brain tumours

O. Gimm, A. Gössling, D. J. Marsh, P. L.M. Dahia, L. M. Mulligan, A. Von Deimling, C. Eng

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Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) plays a key role in the control of vertebrate neuron survival and differentiation in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. GDNF preferentially binds to GFRα-1 which then interacts with the receptor tyrosine kinase RET. We investigated a panel of 36 independent cases of mainly advanced sporadic brain tumours for the presence of mutations in GDNF and GFRα-1. No mutations were found in the coding region of GDNF. We identified six previously described GFRα-1 polymorphisms, two of which lead to an amino acid change. In 15 of 36 brain tumours, all polymorphic variants appeared to be homozygous. Of these 15 tumours, one also had a rare, apparently homozygous, sequence variant at codon 361. Because of the rarity of the combination of homozygous sequence variants, analysis for hemizygous deletion was pursued in the 15 samples and loss of heterozygosity was found in 11 tumours. Our data suggest that intragenic point mutations of GDNF or GFRα-1 are not a common aetiologic event in brain tumours. However, either deletion of GFRα-1 and/or nearby genes may contribute to the pathogenesis of these tumours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-386
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1999



  • Brain tumours
  • GDNF
  • GDNFRα
  • GFRα-1
  • RET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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