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J Biol Chem. 2013 Sep 13;288(37):26879-86. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.492280. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Destabilization of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by a peptide that inhibits EGFR binding to heat shock protein 90 and receptor dimerization.

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From the Departments of Radiation Oncology.


An eight-amino acid segment is known to be responsible for the marked difference in the rates of degradation of the EGF receptor (ErbB1) and ErbB2 upon treatment of cells with the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin. We have scrambled the first six amino acids of this segment of the EGF receptor (EGFR), which lies in close association with the ATP binding cleft and the dimerization face. Scrambling these six amino acids markedly reduces EGFR stability, EGF-stimulated receptor dimerization, and autophosphorylation activity. Two peptides were synthesized as follows: one containing the wild-type sequence of the eight-amino acid segment, which we call Disruptin; and one with the scrambled sequence. Disruptin inhibits Hsp90 binding to the EGFR and causes slow degradation of the EGFR in two EGFR-dependent cancer cell lines, whereas the scrambled peptide is inactive. This effect is specific for EGFR versus other Hsp90 client proteins. In the presence of EGF, Disruptin, but not the scrambled peptide, inhibits EGFR dimerization and causes rapid degradation of the EGFR. In contrast to the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin, Disruptin inhibits cancer cell growth by a nonapoptotic mechanism. Disruptin provides proof of concept for the development of a new class of anti-tumor drugs that specifically cause EGFR degradation.


Cancer; EGFR Degradation; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR); Hsp90; Protein Degradation; Receptor Tyrosine Kinase

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