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J Biol Chem. 1999 Jun 4;274(23):16168-73.

Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II phosphorylates the epidermal growth factor receptor on multiple sites in the cytoplasmic tail and serine 744 within the kinase domain to regulate signal generation.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, Charing Cross Campus, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RP, United Kingdom.


Down-regulation of receptor tyrosine kinase activity plays an essential role in coordinating and controlling cellular growth/differentiation. Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaM kinase II)-mediated phosphorylation of threonine 1172 in the cytoplasmic tail of HER2/c-erbB2 can modulate tyrosine kinase activity and consensus phosphorylation sites are also found at serines 1046/1047 in the structurally related epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). We show that serines 1046/1047 are sites for CaM kinase II phosphorylation, although there is a preference for serine 1047, which resides within the consensus -R-X-X-S-. In addition, we have identified major phosphorylation sites at serine 1142 and serine 1057, which lie within a novel -S-X-D- consensus. Mutation of serines 1046/1047 in full-length EGFR enhanced both fibroblast transformation and tyrosine autokinase activity that was significantly potentiated by additional mutation of serines 1057 and 1142. A single CaM kinase II site was also identified at serine 744 within sub-kinase domain III, and autokinase activity was significantly affected by mutation of this serine to an aspartic acid making this site appear constitutively phosphorylated. We have addressed the mechanism by which CaM kinase II phosphorylation of the EGFR might regulate receptor autokinase activity and show that this modification can hinder association of the cytoplasmic tail with the kinase domain to prevent an enzyme-substrate interaction. We postulate that the location and greater number of CaM kinase II phosphorylation sites in the EGFR compared with HER-2/c-erbB2, leading to differential regulation of autokinase activity, contributes to differences in the strength of downstream signaling events and may explain the higher relative transforming potential of HER-2/cerbB2.

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