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Cancer Cell. 2004 Oct;6(4):347-60.

TrkA alternative splicing: a regulated tumor-promoting switch in human neuroblastoma.

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Department of Experimental Medicine, University of L'Aquila, Via Vetoio, Coppito 2, 67100 L'Aquila, Italy.


We identify a novel alternative TrkA splice variant, TrkAIII, with deletion of exons 6, 7, and 9 and functional extracellular IG-C1 and N-glycosylation domains, that exhibits expression restricted to undifferentiated early neural progenitors, human neuroblastomas (NBs), and a subset of other neural crest-derived tumors. This NGF-unresponsive isoform is oncogenic in NIH3T3 cells and promotes tumorigenic NB cell behavior in vitro and in vivo (cell survival, xenograft growth, angiogenesis) resulting from spontaneous tyrosine kinase activity and IP3K/Akt/NF-kappaB but not Ras/MAPK signaling. TrkAIII antagonizes NGF/TrkAI signaling, which is responsible for NB growth arrest and differentiation through Ras/MAPK, and its expression is promoted by hypoxia at the expense of NGF-responsive receptors, providing a mechanism for converting NGF/TrkA/Ras/MAPK antioncogenic signals to TrkAIII/IP3K/Akt/NF-kappaB tumor-promoting signals during tumor progression.

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