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Oncogene. 1999 Jul 22;18(29):4275-81.

Loss of the exon encoding the juxtamembrane domain is essential for the oncogenic activation of TPR-MET.

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Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment (IRCC), University of Torino School of Medicine, Italy.


TPR-MET, a transforming counterpart of the c-MET proto-oncogene detected in experimental and human cancer, results from fusion of the MET kinase domain with a dimerization motif encoded by TPR. In this rearrangement the exons encoding the Met extracellular, transmembrane and juxtamembrane domains are lost. The juxtamembrane domain has been suggested to be a regulatory region endowed with negative feedback control. To understand whether its absence is critical for the generation of the Tpr-Met transforming potential, we produced a chimeric molecule (Tpr-juxtaMet) with a conserved juxtamembrane domain. The presence of the domain (aa 962-1009) strongly inhibited Tpr-Met dependent cell transformation. Cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, motility and invasion were also impaired. The enzymatic behavior of Tpr-Met and Tpr-juxtaMet was the same, while Tpr-juxtaMet ability to associate cytoplasmic signal transducers and to elicit downstream signaling was severely impaired. These data indicate that the presence of the juxtamembrane domain counterbalances the Tpr-Met transforming potential and therefore the loss of the exon encoding the juxtamembrane domain is crucial in the generation of the active TPR-MET oncogene.

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