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J Cell Sci. 2011 Jun 1;124(Pt 11):1785-93. doi: 10.1242/jcs.083303.

Regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor signalling by inducible feedback inhibitors.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Oncology, Regina Elena Cancer Institute, 00158 Rome, Italy.


Signalling by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) controls morphogenesis and/or homeostasis of several tissues from worms to mammals. The correct execution of these programmes requires the generation of EGFR signals of appropriate strength and duration. This is obtained through a complex circuitry of positive and negative feedback regulation. Feedback inhibitory mechanisms restrain EGFR activity in time and space, which is key to ensuring that receptor outputs are commensurate to the cell and tissue needs. Here, we focus on the emerging field of inducible negative feedback regulation of the EGFR in mammals. In mammalian cells, four EGFR inducible feedback inhibitors (IFIs), namely LRIG1, RALT (also known as MIG6 and ERRFI1), SOCS4 and SOCS5, have been discovered recently. EGFR IFIs are expressed de novo in the context of early or delayed transcriptional responses triggered by EGFR activation. They all bind to the EGFR and suppress receptor signalling through several mechanisms, including catalytic inhibition and receptor downregulation. Here, we review the mechanistic basis of IFI signalling and rationalise the function of IFIs in light of gene-knockout studies that assign LRIG1 and RALT an essential role in restricting cell proliferation. Finally, we discuss how IFIs might participate in system control of EGFR signalling and highlight the emerging roles for IFIs in the suppression of EGFR-driven tumorigenesis.

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