It is estimated that up to one in five individuals develop pituitary gland tumors. Despite the common occurrence of these tumors, the pathogenetic mechanisms underlying their development remain largely unknown. We report the identification of a novel pituitary tumor–derived, N-terminally truncated isoform of FGF receptor-4 (ptd-FGFR4). The corresponding mRNA results from alternative transcription initiation and encodes a polypeptide that lacks a signal peptide and the first two extracellular Ig-like domains. ptd-FGFR4 has a distinctive cytoplasmic residence, is constitutively phosphorylated, and is transforming in vitro and in vivo. Here we show that targeted expression of ptd-FGFR4, but not FGFR4, results in pituitary tumors that morphologically recapitulate the human disease.
Shereen Ezzat, Lei Zheng, Xian-Feng Zhu, Gillian E. Wu, Sylvia L. Asa