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Biochem J. 2006 May 15;396(1):79-88.

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-S442F mutant displays increased affinity for neuregulin-2beta and agonist-independent coupling with downstream signalling events.

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Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Purdue Cancer Research Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2064, USA.


The EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor; ErbB1) is frequently the subject of genetic changes in human tumours which contribute to the malignant phenotype by altering EGFR signalling. Examples of such genetic changes include overexpression, extracellular domain deletions and point mutations, and small deletions in the tyrosine kinase domain. We hypothesized that a point mutation in one of the EGFR ligand-binding domains would increase the affinity of EGFR for NRG2beta (neuregulin-2beta), which is not a potent stimulus of signalling by EGFR-Wt (wild-type EGFR). This mutation would permit NRG2beta stimulation of EGFR signalling in settings in which NRG2beta does not normally do so. To test this hypothesis, we have generated and evaluated various EGFR alleles containing mutations at Val441 and Ser442. NRG2beta is a much more potent stimulus of the EGFR-S442F mutant than of EGFR-Wt. Furthermore, the affinity of NRG2beta for the EGFR-S442F mutant is greater than the affinity of NRG2beta for EGFR-Wt. Finally, the EGFR-S442F mutant constitutively suppresses apoptosis via phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Akt signalling but is not highly tyrosine phosphorylated in the absence of ligand. These results suggest that mutations in the EGFR ligand-binding domain in tumours may permit potent stimulation of EGFR signalling by ligands that are not normally potent EGFR agonists, thereby providing for a novel mechanism by which EGFR signalling may be deregulated. These results also suggest that novel EGFR mutations and signalling activities may be responsible for deregulated EGFR signalling in tumour cells.

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