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J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 26;278(39):37610-21. Epub 2003 Jul 2.

Sequence-specific peptide aptamers, interacting with the intracellular domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor, interfere with Stat3 activation and inhibit the growth of tumor cells.

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  • 1Georg Speyer Haus, Institute for Biomedical Research, Paul Ehrlich Strasse 42, D-60596 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Receptor tyrosine kinases of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor family regulate essential cellular functions such as proliferation, survival, migration, and differentiation but also play central roles in the etiology and progression of tumors. We have identified short peptide sequences from a random peptide library integrated into the thioredoxin scaffold protein, which specifically bind to the intracellular domain of the EGF receptor (EGFR). These molecules have the potential to selectively inhibit specific aspects of EGF receptor signaling and might become valuable as anticancer agents. Intracellular expression of the aptamer encoding gene construct KDI1 or introduction of bacterially expressed KDI1 via a protein transduction domain into EGFR-expressing cells results in KDI1.EGF receptor complex formation, a slower proliferation, and reduced soft agar colony formation. Aptamer KDI1 did not summarily block the EGF receptor tyrosine kinase activity but selectively interfered with the EGF-induced phosphorylation of the tyrosine residues 845, 1068, and 1148 as well as the phosphorylation of tyrosine 317 of p46 Shc. EGF-induced phosphorylation of Stat3 at tyrosine 705 and Stat3-dependent transactivation were also impaired. Transduction of a short synthetic peptide aptamer sequence not embedded into the scaffold protein resulted in the same impairment of EGF-induced Stat3 activation.

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