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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 20;277(38):35671-81. Epub 2002 Jul 8.

Decorin binds to a narrow region of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor, partially overlapping but distinct from the EGF-binding epitope.

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Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Room 249 Jefferson Alumni Hall, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.


Decorin, a small leucine-rich proteoglycan, is a key regulator of tumor growth by acting as an antagonist of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase. To search for cell surface receptors interacting with decorin, we generated a decorin/alkaline phosphatase chimeric protein and used it to screen a cDNA library by expression cloning. We identified two strongly reactive clones that encoded either the full-length EGFR or its ectodomain. A physiologically relevant interaction between decorin and EGFR was confirmed in the yeast two-hybrid system and further validated by experiments using EGF/EGFR interaction and transient cell transfection assays. Using a panel of deletion mutants, decorin binding was mapped to a narrow region of the EGFR within its ligand-binding L2 domain. Moreover, the central leucine-rich repeat 6 of decorin was required for interaction with the EGFR. Site-directed mutagenesis of the EGFR L2 domain showed that a cluster of residues, His(394)-Ile(402), was essential for both decorin and EGF binding. In contrast, K465, previously shown to be cross-linked to epidermal growth factor (EGF), was required for EGF but not for decorin binding. Thus, decorin binds to a discrete region of the EGFR, partially overlapping with but distinct from the EGF-binding domain. These findings could lead to the generation of protein mimetics capable of suppressing EGFR function.

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