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J Biol Chem. 1984 Jul 10;259(13):8545-9.

Tumor-promoting phorbol diesters mediate phosphorylation of the epidermal growth factor receptor.


4 beta-Phorbol 12 beta-myristate 13 alpha-acetate (PMA) markedly inhibited the binding of low concentrations (less than 10(-9 m) of 125I-epidermal growth factor (EGF) to A431 human epidermoid carcinoma cells. However, very little change in the binding of 125-I-EGF at high concentrations (greater than 10(-8) M) was observed in response to PMA. Affinity labeling of the 170,000-dalton EGF receptor with 125I-EGF and disuccinimidyl suberate was also decreased by the tumor promoter at low, but not high, concentrations of 125I-EGF. In order to examine this action of PMA on the EGF receptor, the receptor phosphorylation state was evaluated in A431 cells that had been incubated with [32P]phosphate for 3 h prior to the addition of PMA. The 32P content of the EGF receptor purified with EGF-Sepharose was increased by 38% compared with the same amount of receptor isolated from control cells. The increase in EGF receptor phosphorylation was dose-dependent with a half-maximal effect between 0.1 and 1 nM PMA and was specific for tumor promoting analogues of phorbol diesters. Phosphoamino acid analysis indicated that the increase in the 32P content of the EGF receptor was mainly due to phosphoserine. These results demonstrate that the EGF receptor is a target for PMA action and suggest that the mechanism of PMA action on the response of cells to epidermal growth factor may be mediated in part by phosphorylation of the EGF receptor.

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