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Cell Signal. 2009 Aug;21(8):1326-36. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2009.03.020. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Reciprocal regulation of the ubiquitin ligase Itch and the epidermal growth factor receptor signaling.

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  • 1Département de sciences biologiques, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC H3C3J7, Canada.


EGF-mediated stimulation of the EGF receptor activates a plethora of signaling cascades followed by receptor down regulation. Preventing down regulation leads to increased mitogenic signaling and potentially, cancer. Cbl and Endophilin are two key proteins required for EGF receptor down regulation and both become ubiquitylated and subject to proteasome-mediated degradation following EGF activation, providing a negative feedback loop for EGF receptor down regulation. The mechanism of this pathway is unknown. Here, we demonstrate that treatment of cells with EGF leads to JNK-dependent phosphorylation of the ubiquitin ligase Itch, stimulating Itch ligase activity. EGF-stimulated JNK activation causes an increased interaction between Itch and the de-ubiquitylating enzyme FAM, limiting the influence of Itch auto-ubiquitylation on its own degradation. Finally, JNK activation stimulates the association of Itch with its substrates. These effects combine to cause increased ubiquitylation of Itch substrates including Endophilin and Cbl, resulting in the proteasome-dependent down regulation of these key trafficking proteins. Thus, Itch is a key regulatory locus for EGF receptor degradation.

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