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J Biol Chem. 2001 Nov 9;276(45):42153-61. Epub 2001 Sep 6.

Heregulin-dependent activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Akt via the ErbB2/ErbB3 co-receptor.

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Department of Pharmacology, The University of Iowa, College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1109, USA.


The ErbB2/ErbB3 heregulin co-receptor has been shown to couple to phosphoinositide (PI) 3-kinase in a heregulin-dependent manner. The recruitment and activation of PI 3-kinase by this co-receptor is presumed to occur via its interaction with phosphorylated Tyr-Xaa-Xaa-Met (YXXM) motifs occurring in the ErbB3 C terminus. In this study, mutant ErbB3 receptor proteins expressed in COS7 cells were used to investigate PI 3-kinase-dependent signaling pathways activated by the ErbB2/ErbB3 co-receptor. We observed that a mutant ErbB3 protein with each of its six YXXM motifs containing a Tyr --> Phe substitution was unable to bind either the p85 regulatory or p110 catalytic subunit of PI 3-kinase. However, restoration of a single YXXM motif was sufficient to mediate association with the PI 3-kinase holoenzyme, although at a lower level than wild-type ErbB3. When ErbB3 YXXM motifs were restored in pairs, evidence for cooperativity between two, those incorporating Tyr-1273 and Tyr-1286, was observed. Interestingly, we have shown that an apparent association of PI 3-kinase activity with ErbB2/Neu was due to the residual presence of ErbB3 in ErbB2 immunoprecipitates. The necessity of ErbB3 association with PI 3-kinase for downstream signaling to the effector kinase Akt was also investigated. Here, the heregulin-dependent translocation of Akt to the plasma membrane and its subsequent activation was observed in intact NIH-3T3 fibroblasts. Recruitment of PI 3-kinase to ErbB3 was required for both activities, and it appeared that ErbB2 activation alone was not sufficient to activate PI 3-kinase signaling in these cells.

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