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J Invest Dermatol. 2001 Jan;116(1):69-76.

Ganglioside modulates ligand binding to the epidermal growth factor receptor.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Institute for Education and Research, Northwestern University of Medical School, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Whereas previous investigations have shown that pharmacologic addition of gangliosides inhibits keratinocyte proliferation by downregulating epidermal growth factor receptor phosphorylation, the underlying biochemical basis and physiologic relevance are unknown. Using Scatchard and displacement plots, we have shown that supplemental purified gangliosides decrease the binding of (125)I-labeled epidermal growth factor to keratinocyte-derived SCC12 cells. Conversely, SCC12 cells transfected with sialidase and thus depleted of gangliosides show increased ligand binding to the epidermal growth factor receptor, which is consistent with their increased proliferation in response to epidermal growth factor and transforming growth factor-alpha, and increased phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor, and downstream signal transduction pathway components. The mechanism of the altered binding appears to involve primarily decreased numbers of available receptors within the intact membrane, but not altered receptor protein expression. These studies provide evidence that the effect of gangliosides on keratinocyte proliferation results, at least in part, from the direct binding of ganglioside to the receptor and disruption of the receptor-ligand interaction. Manipulation of membrane ganglioside content may be a powerful new means to alter epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent cell proliferation.

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