Inactivating mutations of the RET proto-oncogene and of one of its soluble ligand molecules, glial cell line derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), have been found in a subset of patients with Hirschsprung disease (HSCR). However, the majority of HSCR mutations remain unidentified. As normal RET function requires a multicomponent ligand complex for activation, other members of the RET ligand complex are primary candidates for these mutations. We investigated the presence of mutations in another member of the RET signalling complex, GDNF family receptor alpha-1 (GFRα-1), in a panel of 269 independent cases of HSCR. We identified 10 polymorphisms at the GFRα-1 locus. Surprisingly, however, we did not identify any sequence variants in our HSCR population that were not also present in a normal control population. Our data suggest that mutations of the GFRα-1 gene are not a common aetiological event in HSCR.
- Hirschsprung disease
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