Human proto-oncogene c-kit: a new cell surface receptor tyrosine kinase for an unidentified ligand.

Y. Yarden, W. J. Kuang, T. Yang-Feng, L. Coussens, S. Munemitsu, T. J. Dull, E. Chen, J. Schlessinger, U. Francke, A. Ullrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1322 Scopus citations


Structural features of v-kit, the oncogene of HZ4 feline sarcoma virus, suggested that this gene arose by transduction and truncation of cellular sequences. Complementary DNA cloning of the human proto-oncogene coding for a receptor tyrosine kinase confirmed this possibility: c-kit encodes a transmembrane glycoprotein that is structurally related to the receptor for macrophage growth factor (CSF-1) and the receptor for platelet-derived growth factor. The c-kit gene is widely expressed as a single, 5-kb transcript, and it is localized to human chromosome 4 and to mouse chromosome 5. A c-kit peptide antibody permitted the identification of a 145,000 dalton c-kit gene product that is inserted in the cellular plasma membrane and is capable of self-phosphorylation on tyrosine residues in both human glioblastoma cells and transfected mouse fibroblasts. Our results suggest that p145c-kit functions as a cell surface receptor for an as yet unidentified ligand. Furthermore, carboxy- and amino-terminal truncations that occurred during the viral transduction process are likely to have generated the transformation potential of v-kit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3341-3351
Number of pages11
JournalThe EMBO journal
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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