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Exp Cell Res. 2009 Feb 15;315(4):697-706. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.07.022. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Mechanisms of ErbB receptor negative regulation and relevance in cancer.

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UC Davis Cancer Center, Research Building III, Rm 1100B, 4645 2nd Avenue, Sacramento, California 95817, USA.


The ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases engages a wide variety of signaling pathways that collectively direct transcriptional programs controlling organogenesis during development and tissue maintenance in the adult. These receptors are also frequently found overexpressed or aberrantly activated in various cancers, suggesting that ErbB receptor signaling activity must be very tightly regulated. Sufficient levels of ErbB signaling are necessary to mediate tissue homeostasis, for example, but over-signaling can trigger cellular processes that contribute to cancer initiation or progression. Efforts over the last quarter century have led to a thorough understanding of the signaling pathways that are activated by these receptors and the mechanisms by which ErbB receptors engage these pathways. However, the compensatory negative regulatory mechanisms responsible for attenuating receptor activation have only more recently begun to be explored. Here we review the different known mechanisms of ErbB negative regulation, with particular emphasis on those proteins that exhibit some specificity for the ErbB family. We also describe how loss or suppression of ErbB negative regulators may contribute to tumor development, and discuss how restoration or augmentation of these pathways may represent a novel avenue for the development of ErbB-targeted therapies.

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