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EMBO J. 2001 Jul 2;20(13):3342-50.

N-arginine dibasic convertase is a specific receptor for heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor that mediates cell migration.

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Department of Surgical Research, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Heparin-binding epidermal growth factor-like growth factor (HB-EGF), a mitogen and chemotactic factor, binds to two receptor tyrosine kinases, erbB1 and erbB4. Now we demonstrate that HB-EGF also binds to a novel 140 kDa receptor on MDA-MB 453 cells. Purification of this receptor showed it to be identical to N-arginine dibasic convertase (NRDc), a metalloendopeptidase of the M16 family. Binding to cell surface NRDc and NRDc in solution was highly specific for HB-EGF among EGF family members. When overexpressed in cells, NRDc enhanced their migration in response to HB-EGF but not to EGF. Conversely, inhibition of endogenous NRDc expression in cells by antisense morpholino oligonucleotides inhibited HB-EGF-induced cell migration. Anti-erbB1 neutralizing antibodies completely abrogated the ability of NRDc to enhance HB-EGF-dependent migration, demonstrating that this NRDc activity was dependent on erbB1 signaling. Although NRDc is a metalloproteinase, enzymatic activity was not required for HB-EGF binding or enhancement of cell migration; neither did NRDc cleave HB-EGF. Together, these results suggest that NRDc is a novel specific receptor for HB-EGF that modulates HB-EGF-induced cell migration via erbB1.

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