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Growth Factors. 1998;16(1):53-67.

Biochemical characterization of mutant EGF receptors expressed in the hemopoietic cell line BaF/3.

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Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Melbourne Tumor Biology Branch, Victoria, Australia.


The Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) receptor appears to require a fully active tyrosine kinase domain to transmit mitogenic signals. However, waved-2 mice carrying a mutation in the alpha-helix C of their EGF-R, which abolishes tyrosine kinase activity, only display a mild phenotype and are fully viable. This suggests that the mutant EGF-R signals through heterodimerization with endogenous, kinase active members of the EGF-R family such as ErbB-2 or ErbB-4. We have examined the biochemistry of EGF-Rs carrying mutations in the alpha-helix C of the human EGF-R (V741G and Y740F), in the ATP binding site (K721R) and at the C-terminus (CT957), by expression in BaF/3 cells which are devoid of EGF-R family members. The in vitro kinase activity of the alpha-helix C EGF-R mutants was severely impaired as a result of reduced phosphotransfer activity without appreciable changes in the affinity for either ATP or peptide substrate. Surprisingly, EGF stimulation of cells carrying the different mutant or wild type EGF-Rs resulted in tyrosine phosphorylation of EGF-R proteins; this phosphorylation was abolished in crude plasma membrane preparations, and appears to be due to activation of a membrane-associated or a cytosolic kinase. Receptor-mediated internalization of EGF was profoundly suppressed in the V741G, K721R and CT957 receptor mutant, and high affinity EGF binding was undetectable in the V741G and K721R receptors. We conclude that specific residues in the C-helix of the EGF-R kinase are essential for full kinase activity; mutations in this region do not affect ATP binding, but impair the receptors' phosphotransfer ability. High affinity binding of EGF is not dependent on tyrosine kinase activity or sequences in the C-terminus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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