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Biochemistry. 2003 May 13;42(18):5478-92.

Characterization of glycosylation sites of the epidermal growth factor receptor.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235, USA.


The epidermal growth factor receptor is a transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates the cellular responses to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha). In this study of the human EGF receptor naturally expressed in A431 cells, the glycosylation sites of the full-length, membrane-bound receptor and of a secreted form of the receptor were characterized by mass spectrometry. Our data show that the naturally expressed human EGF receptor is fully glycosylated on eight of the 11 canonical sites; two of the sites are not glycosylated, and one is partially glycosylated, a pattern of site-usage similar but not identical to those reported for the recombinant human EGF receptor heterologously expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. We also confirm the partial glycosylation of an atypical NNC site first identified in the receptor expressed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. We show that an additional canonical site in the secreted form of the receptor is fully glycosylated. While the pattern of glycosylation is the same for the sites shared by the full-length and the secreted forms of the receptor, the oligosaccharides of the full-length receptor are more extensively processed. Finally, we provide evidence that in addition to the known secreted form of the receptor, a proteolytic cleavage product of the receptor corresponding to the full extracytoplasmic, ligand-binding domain is present in the conditioned medium.

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