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Am J Pathol. 1996 Jan;148(1):189-200.

Transforming and differentiation-inducing potential of constitutively activated c-kit mutant genes in the IC-2 murine interleukin-3-dependent mast cell line.

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Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Osaka University, Suita, Japan.


Two mutations of c-kit receptor tyrosine kinase (KIT), valine-559 to glycine (G559) and aspartic acid-814 to valine (V814), resulted in its constitutive activation. To examine the transforming and differentiation-inducing potential of the mutant KIT, we used the murine interleukin-3-dependent IC-2 mast cell line as a transfectant. The IC-2 cells contained few basophilic granules and did not express KIT on the surface. The KITG559 or KITV814 gene was introduced into IC-2 cells using a retroviral vector. KITG559 and KITV814 expressed in IC-2 cells were constitutively phosphorylated on tyrosine and demonstrated kinase activity in the absence of stem cell factor, which is a ligand for KIT. IC-2 cells expressing either KITG559 or KITV814 (IC-2G559 or IC-2V814 cells) showed factor-independent growth in suspension culture and produced tumors in nude athymic mice. In addition, IC-2G559 and IC-2V814 cells showed a more mature phenotype compared with the phenotype of the original IC-2 cells, especially after transplantation into nude mice. The number of basophilic granules and the content of histamine increased remarkably. KITG559 and KITV814 also influenced the transcriptional phenotype of mouse mast cell proteases (MMCP) in IC-2 cells. The expression of MMCP-2, MMCP-4, and MMCP-6 was much greater in IC-2G559 and IC-2V814 cells than in the original IC-2 cells. The results indicated that constitutively activated KIT had not only oncogenic activity but also differentiation-inducing activity in mast cells.

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