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J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2002 Jun;19(6):961-72.

Modeling the epidermal growth factor -- epidermal growth factor receptor l2 domain interaction: implications for the ligand binding process.

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  • 1The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Post Office Box 2008, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, Victoria, 3050, Australia.


Signaling from the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor is triggered by the binding of ligands such as EGF or transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and subsequent receptor dimerization. An understanding of these processes has been hindered by the lack of structural information about the ligand-bound, dimerized EGF receptor. Using an NMR-derived structure of EGF and a homology model of the major ligand binding domain of the EGF receptor and experimental data, we modeled the binding of EGF to this EGF receptor fragment. In this low resolution model of the complex, EGF sits across the second face of the EGF receptor L2 domain and EGF residues 10-16, 36-37, 40-47 bind to this face. The structural model is largely consistent with previously published NMR data describing the residues of TGF-alpha which interact strongly with the EGF receptor. Other EGF residues implicated in receptor binding are accounted by our proposal that the ligand binding is a two-step process with the EGF binding to at least one other site of the receptor. This three-dimensional model is expected to be useful in the design of ligand-based antagonists of the receptor.

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