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J Biol Chem. 2014 Sep 12;289(37):25537-45. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.579581. Epub 2014 Jul 29.

Cell surface epidermal growth factor receptors increase Src and c-Cbl activity and receptor ubiquitylation.

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From the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40202.
From the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky 40202


There is an established role for the endocytic pathway in regulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling to downstream effectors. However, because ligand-mediated EGFR endocytosis utilizes multiple "moving parts," dissecting the spatial versus temporal contributions has been challenging. Blocking all endocytic trafficking can have unintended effects on other receptors as well as give rise to compensatory mechanisms, both of which impact interpretation of EGFR signaling. To overcome these limitations, we used epidermal growth factor (EGF) conjugated to polystyrene beads (EGF beads). EGF beads simultaneously activate the EGFR while blocking its endocytosis and allow analysis of EGFR signaling from the plasma membrane. Human telomerase immortalized corneal epithelial (hTCEpi) cells were used to model normal epithelial cell biology. In hTCEpi cells, both cell surface and intracellular EGFRs exhibited dose-dependent increases in effector activity after 15 min of ligand stimulation, but only the serine phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) was statistically significant when accounting for receptor phosphorylation. However, over time with physiological levels of receptor phosphorylation, cell surface receptors produced either enhanced or sustained mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK), Casitas B-lineage lymphoma (c-Cbl), and the pro-oncogene Src activity. These increases in effector communication by cell surface receptors resulted in an increase in EGFR ubiquitylation with sustained ligand incubation. Together, these data indicate that spatial regulation of EGFR signaling may be an important regulatory mechanism in receptor down-regulation.


Endosome; Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR); Receptor Endocytosis; Signaling; Ubiquitylation (Ubiquitination); c-Cbl

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