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Mol Biol Cell. 2005 Jun;16(6):2984-98. Epub 2005 Apr 13.

The membrane-anchoring domain of epidermal growth factor receptor ligands dictates their ability to operate in juxtacrine mode.

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1
Department of Pathology, Division of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84133, USA.

Abstract

All ligands of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor (EGFR) are synthesized as membrane-anchored precursors. Previous work has suggested that some ligands, such as EGF, must be proteolytically released to be active, whereas others, such as heparin-binding EGF-like growth factor (HB-EGF) can function while still anchored to the membrane (i.e., juxtacrine signaling). To explore the structural basis for these differences in ligand activity, we engineered a series of membrane-anchored ligands in which the core, receptor-binding domain of EGF was combined with different domains of both EGF and HB-EGF. We found that ligands having the N-terminal extension of EGF could not bind to the EGFR, even when released from the membrane. Ligands lacking an N-terminal extension, but possessing the membrane-anchoring domain of EGF, still required proteolytic release for activity, whereas ligands with the membrane-anchoring domain of HB-EGF could elicit full biological activity while still membrane anchored. Ligands containing the HB-EGF membrane anchor, but lacking an N-terminal extension, activated EGFR during their transit through the Golgi apparatus. However, cell-mixing experiments and fluorescence resonance energy transfer studies showed that juxtacrine signaling typically occurred in trans at the cell surface, at points of cell-cell contact. Our data suggest that the membrane-anchoring domain of ligands selectively controls their ability to participate in juxtacrine signaling and thus, only a subclass of EGFR ligands can act in a juxtacrine mode.

PMID:
15829568
PMCID:
PMC1142441
DOI:
10.1091/mbc.E04-11-0994
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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