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Oncogene. 2003 Aug 21;22(35):5471-80.

Extracellular domain determinants of LET-23 (EGF) receptor tyrosine kinase activity in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Negative regulation of ErbB/EGFR signalling pathways is important for normal development and the prevention of cancer. In a genetic screen to uncover mechanisms that negatively regulate ErbB signalling in Caenorhabditis elegans, we isolated a second-site mutation (sy621) that promotes the activity of a gain-of-function allele (sa62gf) of the let-23 (EGF) receptor tyrosine kinase. We show that activation by the sa62 mutation (C359Y) likely results from a break in the conserved disulphide-bonded eighth module at the junction of CR1 and L2. The sy621 mutation causes a G270E change in the third disulphide-bonded module of CR1, and causes no phenotype on its own, but cooperates with the sa62 mutation to promote receptor activity. Although both sa62 single- and double-mutant receptors can function in the absence of ligand, they can be further activated by ligand. Our results support the current model for ligand-induced dimerization based on the recent crystal structures of HER3 and the EGFR, and provide more evidence for the generation of distinctly activated ErbB family members through mutation.

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