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Mol Cell. 2011 Sep 2;43(5):723-37. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.07.014.

Rapid phospho-turnover by receptor tyrosine kinases impacts downstream signaling and drug binding.

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Center for Cell Decision Processes, Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Epidermal growth factor receptors (ErbB1-4) are oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) that regulate diverse cellular processes. In this study, we combine measurement and mathematical modeling to quantify phospho-turnover at ErbB receptors in human cells and to determine the consequences for signaling and drug binding. We find that phosphotyrosine residues on ErbB1 have half-lives of a few seconds and therefore turn over 100-1000 times in the course of a typical immediate-early response to ligand. Rapid phospho-turnover is also observed for EGF-activated ErbB2 and ErbB3, unrelated RTKs, and multiple intracellular adaptor proteins and signaling kinases. Thus, the complexes formed on the cytoplasmic tail of active receptors and the downstream signaling kinases they control are highly dynamic and antagonized by potent phosphatases. We develop a kinetic scheme for binding of anti-ErbB1 drugs to receptors and show that rapid phospho-turnover significantly impacts their mechanisms of action.

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